Pioneer Karen Vick guides brands to success with her digital media agency

Photo: David I. Muir

Few people stumble upon their dream career, but it’s a chance encounter that will lead Karen Vick to find her true calling. Vick is the founder of Guiding Brands, a pioneering marketing agency, offering services in digital media strategy, as well as web and graphic design.

In 2000, Vick had worked for five years in a retail management position for the famous American company Toys “R” Us, when a member of her team unknowingly lit a fire inside her.

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale student often showed Vick fascinating design projects created in class. Vick fell in love with the idea of ​​pursuing her budding love for digital art, so when Toys “R” Us instituted a college reimbursement program for team members, she jumped at the chance. . “I went to an orientation and was blown away,” she said. Three years later, she graduated.

Over the next few years, Vick’s fascination with the digital design and marketing professions grew. She worked for a small agency that created web pages for local businesses, then found herself in familiar waters, developing layouts for a toy company. Feeling ready to strike out on her own, she teamed up with a friend to start a small business that created websites for online educational programs. But she felt the need to pivot, drawn to a more personal goal. She knew something was missing within the Caribbean community and felt called to help minority-owned small businesses. “I wanted to raise [these] businesses,” she said. “Help them close the gap to be on the same playing field as everyone else.”

Karen Vick, Guiding Brands
Photo: David I. Muir

By 2007, Vick had made his mark with his one-man business, Island Design Studio, known primarily for its stunning web design and trustworthy service. She has dedicated herself to the community – running workshops, partnering with organizations such as the Tamarac Chamber of Commerce and Jamaican Women of Florida, and working with local businesses, whether geared towards the Caribbean or not.

She lights up thinking of past clients, including a couple whose franchise, after implementing Vick’s suggestions, made it into the top 5% of a major Florida franchisor.

After nearly 15 years of successfully running Island Design Studio, Vick relaunched in 2022 as Guiding Brands. Along with the name change came an expanded portfolio, a handful of new services to its already impressive repertoire, and the ability to focus on the specifics that made Island Design Studio great, like taking a more strategic approach and educational web design for clients. so they don’t just get a great website, they also understand exactly how it works. “A lot of what I do is the teaching part. There’s a “why” behind the way things are done and I’ve worked hard to educate people [on this]“, explained Vick.

As Guiding Brands grows, Vick continues to evolve, working with new technologies to ensure her customers continue to get the best service she can offer.

To connect with Karen Vick or to learn more about Guiding Brands, visit

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