Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis: Gary Erickson, Clif Bar.
Waylon’s had a long road, already. This summer, elephant celebrated its 10th Anniversary Party & Waylon’s 38th birthday, hosted by Congressman Polis, the creators of The Cove, and hundreds of others. The first 6 years, elephant was an eco-paper printed magazine. But the bigger it got, the closer Waylon was to having to compromise on our high sell-thru rate (most magazines sell 3 out of 10 copies, elephant while smaller, though national, sold 8 out of 10 copies. To go big, Waylon would have had to compromise, letting elephant, an eco publication, become fundamentally hypocritical).
So Waylon turned elephant magazine into elephantjournal.com, winning awards (#1 on twitter, twice, for #green, and many others for Waylon personally). Now, we’re at 1.3 million readers a month, with a sweet staff and a burgeoning talk show video series.
But in between, Waylon had to give up his staff and office, give away his car, and his home went into foreclosure. His survival from print to web was unfunded—staying independent is another of our media values—and he nearly gave up many times. But after three years of elbow grease and seven day weeks, 16 hour days spent staring at the blue light of a falling-apart laptop, elephant’s back.
Sustainability has been its own challenge. Now that elephant is doing well, thriving and hiring, a sort of postpartum depression set in. His work no longer half-fueled by adrenaline—by the entrepreneur’s hunger to “make it”—a burnt out Waylon had to reconnect with his own wellspring of energy. One book helped that journey: Raising the Bar, by Gary of Clif Bar.
Clif Bar’s one of the few independents, that rare model of joy, profits and sustainability—not just one or the other.
And so it was with great joy that Waylon was granted a few minutes of Gary’s time at Natural Products Expo West. We’re hoping to host a book club for Raising the Bar on elephantjournal.com with Gary—stay tuned, and pick up a copy.
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