Dumbo Feather issue 41
Delivered to Stack subscribers in Feb 2015
Editor and publisher of Dumbo Feather
What is Dumbo Feather?
It’s a magazine, an events series and an online conversation. As a whole, we’d say Dumbo Feather is a community. A place people can come together to share ideas, be inspired and engage in conversations about how we can build a better world. It’s a community for people who are tired of the despairing and sensationalised news that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. What we put into the world is almost an antidote to that. We want to show the hope, the vision and the meaning that unites all of us.
What makes it different to the rest?
A few things. There’s the content as I said. We’re not in the business of publishing scandal, celebrity or disaster stories. We’re not interested in the latest trends. We try to come from a place that is genuine and tells us a story of our time in the most positive and thoughtful way possible. Of course, not everything in the world is positive. We acknowledge that. But when we approach the darkness with a little light, with a little heart, that is when real change happens.
The other point of difference is the length and nature of our stories. What we’re all about at Dumbo Feather is having meaningful conversations. With the magazine, that means dedicating 15 to 20 pages to each extraordinary person we profile. That’s quite uncommon in the publishing world. And the format is Q&A, which allows us to capture all the nuances of the person as they take us through the challenges and passions that are central to their experience. So it’s about really getting to the heart of the individual. We compliment the long-form stories with a photo essay that also seeks to document the person in a genuine, natural way.
Who makes Dumbo Feather?
There’s about eight of us on the team working across the magazine, our events and the online channels, and we all get involved in each other’s business! It’s a really collaborative environment. Everyone brings themselves to the table. I think that’s so important. We print locally in Melbourne. And we’re part of the Small Giants family, a group of companies who create positive social and environmental impact (i.e. B corporations). Dumbo HQ is based out of the Small Giants offices and so we seek inspiration from everyone in the building. And, of course, we take inspiration from our wider community too. We’re always inviting people to come forward with extraordinary stories and extraordinary individuals to profile.
Who reads it?
I’d say people who are looking for meaning and inspiration. We’ve got readers all over the world, but most of them are here in Australia. I’d like to think Dumbo Feather has quite a broad appeal, given the range of topics and ideas we cover each edition — business, science, environment, film, design, civil rights… the list goes on. Our readers are often the leaders and trendsetters in their circles, and, like us, are interested in many things. There’s no one “type.”
Why do you work in magazines?
To tell stories that throw light on the human experience. There’s no greater feeling than reading something that you connect with — that really resonates. You know those moments when someone explains something in a way that you “knew” but you never quite crystalised in your mind? It’s like an epiphany! Those are the moments that make storytelling a wonderful business to be part of, and I think magazines really provide a platform for making those connections. Plus they allow for a sensory experience with the paper stock and the lush photography. There’s a smell and texture to Dumbo Feather. It’s a keepsake. It’s aesthetically beautiful. I love being able to give that gift to a reader.
Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
So we are really ramping up our online platforms at the moment — lots of exciting content on our website in the form of videos, blog posts and of course conversations. We’ve got a growing Facebook and Instagram following. We’re really trying to give our community as much useful and insightful content as we can. Then there are events which are almost a physical manifestation of the work we do in the magazine and online. So we have live conversations, we have lots of events with our partners. Like the magazine, we approach every event with a full heart so guests leave feeling inspired and connected to their community. We also want them to leave feeling full from our awesome grazing tables – lots of cheese!
What would you change about Dumbo Feather if you could?
That’s easy, I would increase the size of the community. Dumbo Feather is read by engaged and passionate people. The more people are like this, the better for the world!
Where do you see Dumbo Feather in five years?
Still having conversations with extraordinary people — just more of them. Our dream is to have a Dumbo Feather community everywhere, in Mumbai, in New York, in Shanghai. Maybe that won’t happen in five years, but hopefully we’re on track for it by growing our community and generally showing people how much can be achieved through telling stories that heal and empower.