Business of Craft Jason Baum


On this episode, we will chat with Jason Baum, Director of Membership for the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI), about community, the evolution of retail, and Jason’s most interesting gig as a voice actor.

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Get to know Jason and AFCI:

  • [1:46] Jason has been with AFCI since 2012 and came into the association as a manager of marketing.
  • [3:20] AFCI is the entire supply chain of the creative arts industry.
  • [3:30] The industry services everyone from design, to manufacture, to retail, to distribution.
  • [4:13] AFCI hosts an annual trade show in January that is the largest show in North America for the creative products industry.
  • [5:02] Members include small businesses, large brands, inventors, and manufacturers. There’s something for everyone.

Reasons for rebranding:

  • [5:43] Lot of thought and work put into rebranding, about a year and a half process.
  • [6:53] Craft and Hobby Association brand was not inclusive enough, AFCI is a better representation of what they do.
  • [7:09] Jason is blown away by the positive feedback from the members of AFCI.

The importance of community:

  • [8:15]“Belonging to an association and belonging to something – a group of like-minded individuals – is so important for your own success.”
  • [8:48] Communities can help to enlighten you to figure out what does or doesn’t work.
  • [8:58] Being exposed to a community and professionals is important for success.
  • [10:25] Don’t think of the other members of an association as competitors, rather as people you can learn something from.
  • [11:03] “The more we can do to help each other, the better as a collective we are.”

Online retailing:

  • [12:07] Association offers classes to help people understand how to run an online business.
  • [13:44] There are many different business opportunities out in the world.

Keys to being a successful brick & mortar store:

  • [14:48] Customers want their experience to be personal, they want to touch items and be able to experience them in real life.
  • [15:23] Think outside of the box, plan some fun and unique events.
  • [15:31] What is that retail-tainment or experience factor that is bringing someone in?


  • [21:26] The industry is so expansive; it is difficult to gauge how many companies are actually in the industry, there is a lot of cross-over (DIY, toy industry, etc).
  • [21:53] AFCI Research is worth $4,000
  • [22:45] Membership in the AFCI is revenue-based. Start up members, or new entrepreneurs, have a reduced membership! (you get access to shows for free)
  • [23:30] Designed to help young businesses get a jump start, bring in and help people.

Benefits of attending trade shows:

  • [24:50 ] AFCI focuses on Learn, connect, and discover – all those things take place at the shows and events.
  • [25:06] Being at a trade show allows an individual to potentially meet their next business partner and have contact with successful businesses.
  • [25:40] Trade shows are not just about the buying experience, but being educated about buying certain products.
  • [26:35] Remember this is a “See, touch, feel” industry.
  • [27:03] Don’t forget the educational benefits. You can get an entire year’s worth of education in five days.

Innovation Center:

  • [28:47] Creativation Innovation is for new products to be pitched.
  • [29:17] Last year’s prize was $10,000 seed money.

Joining AFCI:

  • [31:50] Check out the AFCI website: to begin the process of membership.
  • [32:20] This association is for people with an actual business ready to buy or sell and manufacture products.
  • [32:49] Qualifications to join are listed on the website.

Jason’s career as a voice actor:

  • [34:38] Took voice acting classes that were offered locally.
  • [34:46] Jason went to school for a radio announcer.
  • [35:04] Made commercials for McDonald’s
  • [35:10] It is a competitive market in the New York area with a lot of opportunities.
  • [35:19] Lower Manhattan Walking Tour app features Jason’s voice, he recommends visiting New York sometime!

Selected links from the episode:

AFCI Website
AFCI Membership
Verse Group
AFCI Trade Show, Creativation, in Phoenix, Arizona
Let’s Hang
Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

Business of Craft Jason Baum