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Octavia GilmoreOctavia Gilmore is the CEO of Creative Juice, a minority and female-owned creative agency, disrupting marketing the millennial way. From discovering her passion for graphic design at 14 to founding her agency at age 23, Octavia’s journey epitomizes creativity, determination, and entrepreneurship. With a mission to promote diversity and empower minority and female-owned businesses, she has transformed Creative Juice into a thriving enterprise while actively mentoring youth and advocating for leadership opportunities. Recognized as a Power 30 Under 30 recipient and honored with the Emerging Alumna award from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Octavia continues to inspire and lead by example in both the business world and her community. 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What inspired Octavia Gilmore to pursue marketing and branding?
  • Top things Octavia learned from running her business
  • Challenges that Octavia faced in her entrepreneurship journey
  • The value of building trust with clients
  • How does Octavia stay updated with the latest technologies?
  • Balancing creativity with being strategic
  • How to measure the success of a marketing and branding campaign
  • Top marketing and branding mistakes to avoid

In this episode…

Marketing and branding are indispensable pillars for businesses to establish their identity, connect with their target audience, and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Effective marketing strategies not only generate awareness but also foster loyalty and drive sales. Similarly, a strong brand identity communicates values, builds trust, and ultimately influences consumer behavior. How can businesses harness the power of marketing and branding to unlock their full potential and stand out in today’s competitive landscape?

Branding and marketing expert Octavia Gilmore, emphasizes the importance of understanding the target audience’s pain points and delivering value through clear brand messaging. Octavia also shares the challenges she faced as a young entrepreneur, including breaking into the corporate space and earning the trust of renowned brands like Home Depot. Despite the obstacles, her dedication to learning, adapting, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, including the integration of AI, has been key to her success. Octavia’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to be resilient, embrace continuous learning, and not be afraid to pivot in the ever-evolving landscape of marketing and branding. 

In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen sits down with Octavia Gilmore, Founder and CEO of Creative Juice, to talk about how to elevate your brand marketing. Octavia discusses lessons she learned from running her business, the value of building trust with clients, and how to balance creativity with being strategic.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 Media, we feature top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25 We help b2b businesses reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients referrals and strategic partnerships and get ROI through done for you podcasts. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way to do it than your profile, and the people and companies that you admire on your podcast. 

To learn more, go to or email us at My guest today is Octavia Gilmore, a visionary graphic designer and founder of Creative Juice. She discovered her passion for design at age 14 and honed her skills with a BFA from Savannah College in Georgia. Savannah College of Art and Design, which is two years post-graduation, Octavia boldly launched Creative Juice in 2013, transforming it into a cutting-edge multicultural marketing powerhouse, specializing in branding, web design and digital marketing. 

Creative Juice brings a diverse global team dedicated to breaking barriers and fostering wealth and equity and communities of color. As a celebrated 30 under 30 awardee and an emerging Alumna Award recipient from her alma mater Octavia’s commitment extends beyond business beyond business business success, to empowering and mentoring the next generation of leaders, Octavia, that was easy for me to say, how are you? Good.

Octavia Gilmore 1:53

Thanks for having me. Hello,

Chad Franzen 1:54

Appreciate you for joining me. I’m looking forward to talking to you. Tell me as we get started here, what kind of inspired you to pursue a career in marketing and branding?

Octavia Gilmore 2:04

That’s a great question. So I’ve come from a family of creatives. However, no one necessarily pursued a creative career. So I knew pretty early on as a teenager, I wanted to do graphic design. So my uncle actually gave me Photoshop when I was 14. And I pretty much fell in love with it. And I decided I wanted to pursue it as a career, though I always knew that I would own an agency. I would say when I got to college, I told everyone, I’m going to start my own agency when I’m like 30 years old, because I thought that was so old. Who back then? But yeah, I went to school and really utilized my school’s career website. 

So different businesses around Atlanta would post you know, if they needed something like a logo design or website design on scans career site, and I was one of the only students that really took advantage of that. So I started freelancing probably like my junior year of college. And by the time I graduated, I had a pretty decent clientele. This was back when also Craigslist was more popular, I would even post ads on Craigslist, about my services to get some clients. So fast forward. After graduation, I took a role at a large corporation as a graphic designer. I absolutely hated it. And I said, “Okay, what am I going to do now?” 

So I was looking for some jobs at some agencies here locally in Atlanta. And I just noticed that there wasn’t much diversity. There weren’t many people that looked like me in terms of agency ownership. And that’s kind of what sparked me to launch Creative Juice just to bring some more flair into this space. So I pretty much started it as a one-woman shop at home with my laptop. And about six months later, I had so much work to do actually hire my first contractor. And then fast forward to today, we’ve blossomed into a boutique, branding and marketing agency working with some pretty large clients. And yes, since COVID, we were able to pretty much close our physical office in Atlanta. 

And that allowed us to build a more global team, which pretty much is representative of what the world looks like today. So one of our unique values that we bring to the table is having this global team with truly unique global perspectives all working with, you know, our client on their branding. Yeah, that’s pretty much the story of how I got started. So yeah, I always knew I wanted to own an agency and didn’t expect to start it at 23. But you know, the universe had other plans and here we are today. So that

Chad Franzen 4:44

That is awesome. Amazing. So why, you know how did you know you always wanted to own an agency? What about that was attractive to you and is it still attractive to you for that same reason?

Octavia Gilmore 4:54

Well, I think that I was always more of a leader. Whether it’s with my friend group, or just different things that I did in high school. So yeah, I think just being a leader, having those leadership qualities, and then wanting to have something to call my own, that I could pass down in terms of legacy. One of the things that, you know, has been challenging, or what is challenging was I’ve never worked at an agency, and then I started one. So a lot of it was like trial by fire, as most entrepreneurs know, you are literally building the plane as you’re flying it, which is not always fun. But yeah, I had a lot of challenges, a lot of wins and successes throughout the journey that I’m super proud of. 

Chad Franzen 5:39

What did you learn? I mean, before you started the agency, what did you learn, kind of in your early work experience that maybe has helped you, you know, with creative juice now beyond, beyond the fact that you didn’t necessarily care for working in corporate America?

Octavia Gilmore 5:54

Well, I would say one of the things that from a cultural perspective, we are really big on customer service. And I think it’s because I used to work at, like Toys R Us during the holidays. And I used to get like, angry customers with toys thrown at me all types of crazy things. Um, but I really realized actually, more recently, one of the reasons why we’re so much on our professionalism, and really trying to anticipate our client’s needs before they do is that customer service background. Also, I’m a pretty detail-oriented person. 

So in terms of our culture, making sure that we are crossing every T and dotting every i is really, really important. Making sure that we, you know, execute at the highest level, that is the expectation of everyone at the agency. I think that also comes from just me personally, my experience, as well as my personality wanting to be like an overachiever, which is what I was in high school in college as well.

Chad Franzen 6:56

So I want to get into some of the biggest challenges you face as a marketing expert. But in terms of being an entrepreneur, what would you have maybe learned, or what has surprised you the most about running your own business beyond just being a great, you know, agency leader? What about running a business has surprised you? Or have you learned from,

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