My Take on Vendors Licensing and The Rules of Playing the Game

clevelandThere’s been some hoopla this summer in Cleveland regarding proper licensing, especially for transient vendors.

With Holiday Event/Show Season upon us, it seemed a good time for this discussion.

My two cents…

As Creatives, we are running businesses.

As such, we take in monies (hopefully) from sales. By law, we are required to pay taxes. That is just the way things work.

Those working for organizations show up to work their scheduled hours and receive a paycheck itemized with quite a few deductions. Taxes are deducted.

Creatives work differently; it’s on us to come up with a system to track expenses, receipts, sales, and to consult professional accountants/attorney’s if need be. That is all part of running a business. If we don’t know, it’s on us to learn the rules, and the laws. Because that is how professionals operate.

As such, when we take our businesses out to the public, to promote/sell product, we should do so in a proper, professional manner.

Yes, I’m an artist. But I’m also a professional woman, running a creative business.

The best guide I’ve seen comes from The Cleveland Flea:


The other option…

To show up at an event without proper credentials, and then to complain, argue, and cause a stir. This is NOT the right look for any business. Doing so only shines a spotlight on a creative for being unprepared, makes a person/business look foolish, annoys other vendors, and organizers. Children show up to play a baseball game without a mitt, then throw a tantrum. Adults do not.

I wouldn’t go to the airport without identification and expect to board a plane. And I’m required to be properly credentialed to login to my computer at work with a chipped access card. Without my card, I can’t access my computer. (Yes, I have a full time “day job” along with my Art Business.)

Our creative businesses are no different. We are accountable to the rules/laws that apply to our businesses, just as other organizations are. As non-profits, government entities, private organizations have guidelines to follow, so do we Creatives have our own set of guidelines.

Obviously, it’s impossible to know everything—and to show up once without proper paperwork or to have some type of mishap… that’s probably going to happen. There is a learning curve. All we can do is apologize, and clean it up the best we can. BUT from there on, we should know the rules, the way the game is played.

To continue trying to get away with something is unprofessional and childish. It only serves to make things difficult for organizers, those killing themselves to put on an event. They already have more to do than they can possibly manage. And they have spent considerable time laying the groundwork for us ALL to shine at events.

Take it or leave it.

Get on board. Or don’t.

But expect that being an artist/creative doesn’t preclude you from having guidelines to follow, rules and regulations to adhere to.

Anybody else got anything? Advice? Learning Experiences? Links to Resources?

Comments and Discussion Welcome!!

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