Boulder’s Golden Boy Goes Big with Boulder Meme
Is there an Elephant in YOUR room? There might have been in Boulder in 2002 – 2008 when Waylon Lewis was printing Elephant magazine in a garage in North Boulder. You would have found them in Vic’s, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Vitamin Cottage and local Yoga studios, but today you find Elephant Journal online.
So how did this charismatic Boulder golden boy go from 24 print issues of Elephant to an online readership of 9.4 million being read in countries all over Asia, growing from 1.5 million in the last 18 months?
Elephant magazine initially started in 2002 after transitioning from a single topic magazine Yoga In the Rockies, which focused on Yoga, obviously. Waylon wanted to expand the content to cover all of the topics he cared about; a concept called the mindful life which included yoga, meditation, climbing, bike riding, conscious consumerism, environmental stewardship, social action, and being of benefit to community. When it came to taking the magazine out into the world, past the Boulder Eco-sphere, he looked at his printing options, all expensive and environmentally wasteful, he realized that taking Elephant out into the world as a print magazine did not fit into his values.
In 2008, Waylon did something revolutionary, he started using free internet at coffee shops and started an online magazine with the support of many writers offering articles for free to the magazine. ( He now pays his writers!) This was right when Facebook, social media, Word Press, and all of the tech we connect with today was still a novelty.
How has this manifested? Waylon came up with a stunning idea to push his online readership by creating an interview show called “Walk the Talk with Waylon Lewis.” Here he interviews leading voices in the community talking about “the mindful life … yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, enlightened education, the contemplative arts, adventure, bicycling, family…everything. “ For his efforts, Waylon won Entrepreneur of the year in 2007 and Elephant won #1 in content on Twitter twice. Elephant’s content is rich with fun things to do, Eco-conscious options, yoga, mediation, but they also tackle pretty big social content, like taking on California’s PROP 8, which if any of you remember was the amendment to allow same sex marriage. Waylon said that Elephant’s content on this topic pushed the magazines online readership and engagement. Waylon is a man who walks his talk and supports others to do the same. He has truly taken the Boulder meme world wide and the paradigm shift is obvious.
Waylon is authoring two books; Elephant’s Best Content (unsure if this is title) and Self Help is Bad for You, which has a FB page you can check out.
Check out the Elephant Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal
Elephant Journal at http://www.elephantjournal.com
For the full 46 minute video interview, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwhNa8uzQn0
By Kirsten RAE Erkfritz, Boulder citizen, real estate agent, historian, yogini, and entrepreneur. http://www.sliceofcolorado.com/