LAS VEGAS — Though his strongest following is on TikTok and Instagram, platforms like YouTube grant baking influencers like Matthew Duffy a different way to reach people. While he is currently in production for his upcoming cookbook, he plans to emphasize video content moving forward, as it serves an audience in search of answers to specific questions that he can address as a baker.

Since the pandemic lockdown drove many amateur bakers into the kitchen, Duff Goldman, pastry chef and owner of Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes, took to YouTube and Instagram livestreams to bake alongside them, providing insights and advice to viewers who quickly picked up on some of the finer aspects of the craft.

“I’ve noticed that since then, the questions that I get are a lot more sophisticated. You can tell by the questions they’re asking that they’ve run into a problem because they’ve actually been doing this,” Goldman shared. “‘Why is my bread not rising?’ ‘Why is my crumb so tight?’ ‘Why isn’t my crust crusty?’ And you can tell people are really going for it and I love that.”


With IBIE bringing all kinds of influencers to the Las Vegas Convention Center, this meeting of minds can now take place in a real-life social setting. After years of social distancing and lockdowns, the event allows people from every sector of the industry to come together face-to-face.

As he enters his second IBIE show cycle, Goldman looks forward to not only the innovations and opportunities but also a chance to see his peers and other industry members in person.

Molly Robbins, a London-based cake decorator and CEO of Molly’s Creature Creator, is also involved in the influencer program. Goldman will get to meet her face-to-face for the first time after being online friends for nearly 10 years.

“We’ve been really good friends for so long, but we’ve never actually met in person,” Goldman said. “This will be the first time, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

Influencers hold the power to connect with and educate their followers, a power that industries like cannabis can leverage to get their products into the hands of consumers.


Cannabis goods consulting firm The Vivid Team’s leaders — Jessica Cristadoro, president and CEO, and Steffen Weck, COO and Food Business Consulting president — shared that since cannabis brands can’t advertise in the traditional sense other bakeries do, influencers provide a way for brands to speak directly to consumers they’re trying to reach.

“The only way we as an industry can communicate effectively to our products’ end consumers is through influencer marketing,” Weck said.

Rather than through fiscal arrangements, cannabis companies are limited to trading product in exchange for content from influencers, Cristadoro shared. With each state having its own rules and regulations, edibles producers need to lean into modern marketing methods to connect to consumers. While influencers in cannabis range from online creators to the “budtenders” dispensing product, their impact and the feedback from their followers is direct.

Working with creators who already have an audience — and the ability to create appealing content for that audience — can be a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.


“By engaging with different people, you don’t have to hire 15 new people,” she said. “All you have to do is work with influencers.”

At its core, IBIE is about innovation, and the inclusion of influencers provides industry leaders, artisan bakers and others interested in a new way to market their products with a glimpse into what the future of connecting with consumers could look like.

“I think we’re just in the beginning stages of the rapidly developing creator economy,” Duffy said, “and I really look forward to being a part of it.”

This story has been adapted from the August | Q3 2022 issue of Commercial Baking. Read the full story in the digital edition here.