Ashley Whittle Tiedt In 2008, The United States elected its first AfricanAmerican president, Congress bailed out the big three automakers, China hosted the Summer Olympics, Heath Ledger died and a little publication called RSVP Montgomery was born. Despite the economic crash in 2008, two friends in Montgomery, Alabama, were determined to make their dreams of starting amagazine a reality.
Some things have changed since 2008: Kim Traff is now the sole owner and publisher of the magazine. Some staff members have come and gone and come back home again, but the mission remains the same be the river region guide for all things social while helping entrepreneurs grow andflourish. “It’s hard to say what the best part of the past 10 years have been. It’s a tight race between several incredible events we have hosted and the solid business relationships we’ve built. I definitely have a heart for local, small businesses,” says Traff, owner and publisher of RSVP Magazine. It’s that passion for shopping local that keeps RSVP rolling. Traff says she sees the magazine as a platform for small business and a way to give backto her community. That passion has developed into a sense of camaraderie. In a sense, Traff is fighting the small business battle right alongside them.
Not only is the team at RSVP passionate about the local businesses featured in the magazine, but also about the team of contributors they workwith that aid in the magazine’s success. Whether it be the folks behind the camera, the talented writers, graphic designers or stylists... the production is definitely a group effort, and the contributors reciprocate the love. Photographer Josh Moates has been working with RSVP since its start in 2008 and says, “They are so easy to work with and they give you the creative freedom you need to create. I really take ownership in that magazine with the amount of time I have put into it. I love it, and I really love the people behind it!”
Traff says hands down her most valuable asset team members, Editor Peyton Flowers and Creative Director Carl Adams. Peyton has worked with RSVP for seven years, first as an intern, then full time before moving away for a year. As soon as she returned she came back to RSVP and never missed a beat. “Peyton makes everything more fun! Whether it’s finding the silver lining in frustrating circumstances or her hilarious off-the-wall comments, I couldn’t do the job without her,” Traff says. When asked about Carl, Traff laughed and said, “The first day I met Carl, he took one look at the RSVP logo which was really horrible and told us that it had to go. He re-designed the logo (the only one you guys will ever see) and has served as creative director for RSVP ever since. He is talented, reliable, and super funny… no matter what we throw at him last minute, he never loses his cool. He is the longest standing member of our team and we just love him!
If you have followed RSVP over the years, you know they know how to host a party. Over the last decade, they have created and hosted numerous events including pub-crawls, wine festivals, restaurant hops, casino nights, vintagethemed parties and many magazine release parties. When they aren’t hosting their own events, the team at RSVP Magazine is often lending a hand to others trying to get their fundraisers and businesses off the ground. They donate over $10,000 in advertising each year to nonprofit organizations.
Five years ago in an article similar to this, Traff said the goal of the magazine was to take the words “there’s nothing to do in Montgomery” out of people’s mouth, and as an avid reader, (before and after becoming a contributor) I believe she continues to succeed. But on this 10th anniversary, she hopes people pick up RSVP and get a true and positive pulse of Montgomery.
The magazine’s success wouldn’t be possible without the readers. You are whom they are working for and whom they want to hear from as the magazine celebrates this diamond anniversary. If you have an idea or feedback for the RSVP team, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2018, North and South Korea united under one flag in the Olympics for the first time in 12 years, a democrat from Alabama was sworn into Congress for the first time in 25 years, and a wellknown RSVP magazine continues to make waves across the River Region.
“I remember when Kim approached me back in 2008 to shoot some photography for the magazine, I could see the energy in her eyes about the project. I really feed off of other peoples energy when it comes to working together. So naturally I was excited to be apart of it, and even after these 10 years, it is still as exciting as the first shoot we did.” Josh Moates
“I love my job because I am doing something different every day – whether it is working with our advertisers (who have become more like family) working on our website, planning a photo shoot or staying up in the wee hours while trying to meet a deadline. Every issue is a physical representation of our hard work, and it is a joy to promote the many events,outstanding businesses and dynamic people in our great city.” Peyton Flowers
“It’s been a joy working with Kim and Peyton and the rest of the RSVP team over the years, and it makes my job as the creative director so much easier having all of the talented and passionate people surround me. And we like to have FUN! To Kim, you have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever known. Your compassion for people, your energy, creativity and determination are just a few reasons why you are the backbone to this magazine. Thank you for everything!” – Carl Adams
To all the photographers, writers, editors, interns, designers, hair and makeup people, delivery personnel, board members... its been a great 10 years. Some have come and gone, but all have made this magazine what it is. Here's to 10 more!