What started as an idea to combat the effects that the 2008 economic collapse had on my branding agency soon morphed into a bigger mission. When I first embarked on the journey to publish this magazine, I couldn’t fathom how long it would last or the places it would take me. VIE had to be different from other magazines—and from other media outlets as well. To make my point in the early years, I purposefully positioned VIE as the “antimedia.” It continues to amaze me how the media at large, including many magazines, focuses on the negative. I decided that wouldn’t be the case for VIE. I wanted it to breathe life and new ideas into whomever invested time to peruse its pages. I wanted it to give hope to a world that was—and is still—starving for it.
Along this journey, doors have opened for me that would never have been possible if it were not for the magazine, and for that I am forever grateful. For our second biannual issue of 2008, we were blessed to have ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons on the cover—the photo taken at the first-ever BamaJam Music and Arts Festival in Enterprise, Alabama. Headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. joined ZZ Top and others to benefit the small town after a 2007 tornado had tragically killed eight high school students and destroyed countless homes and businesses, causing $307 million in damages (“Stars Fell on Alabama”; Fall/Winter 2008). I was also honored to meet Robert Redford and his son James at the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness (JRI) fund-raiser “Share the Beat” at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. James had been the recipient of a liver transplant sixteen years prior, and he founded JRI to educate people on a topic not many are willing to discuss. Robert Redford graced the cover of VIE’s first quarterly publication (Spring 2009) in which we gratefully shared the news of his son’s philanthropic endeavors.
In the formative years of VIE, these stories about good people doing good things would set the tone and cadence of the magazine. If there is anything I’ve learned during the last decade, it’s that there are many decent and generous people in the world, and it’s an honor to share stories that might otherwise be left untold. Other more recent covers have featured numerous celebrities—all with stories about their respective efforts to give back to communities around the world. And VIE’s stories are not only about celebrities turned philanthropists. Its pages often highlight everyday people around the world creating charities and foundations to help others—and their humanity shines bright!
VIE started as an idea to bring the talents of our full-service boutique marketing agency into the publishing arena during the Great Recession. And we did the unimaginable. We survived! VIE became the flagship for a small publishing house—The Idea Boutique®—that has published several other magazines and three books: Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters by Sister Schubert; Facade: Musings on Living Life and Coping with Death by William E. Wade; and most recently, Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success by Darin Colucci, which is chock-full of wisdom about living a happy and successful life. We still have a successful marketing boutique, and through a new sales hybrid called the Brand Alliance Partnership, we’ve merged its assets with VIE, allowing us to offer clients branding and marketing accoutrements alongside advertisements in the magazine and online.
The road has been challenging. It’s been the fight of my career to go against the tide and not forsake quality in pursuit of the financial bottom line—all while hoping and believing that excellence is always the victor. I’m a craftsman at heart, as is everyone who helps to publish VIE, and I thank the entire creative team for doing an amazing job with every issue.
What I am most proud of is that we’ve created a vehicle for good news and hope! This issue has so many honest and heartfelt stories, it is hard to tout just one, but I must say that meeting Heather Haynes has inspired me, and her moving art utterly captivates me! Please read her story in “Wall of Courage: Shining a Light on Africa’s Forgotten Children” by Tori Phelps.