Willard showing off his oils and Obama caps
Nichole, beauty products and accessories
“I honor people… anybody out here doing this, because they could be at home not doing anything,” declared Shari Campbell, owner of Fancy for Less (FFL).
FFL is not a storefront per se. It’s more like a set of folding tables and chairs, used to display her jewelry, hats and handbags. Campbell hopes to eventually have a store inside the mall but for now, she dwells among a tight knit group of street vendors, who have staked their claim at the corner of Crenshaw and King boulevards, near the Department of Water and Power.
Daily they set up shop and anyone interested can find things like novelty T-shirts, incense and oils, beauty products and even popcorn.
“I got gardenia, vanilla, black love, cinnamon, African violet, lemongrass, pineapple…,” said Willard, who along with his wife, sells oils, incense and figurines.
Willard’s been coming to Crenshaw off and on for about twenty years, he said. Vending has been good for him. It’s the only thing that has been able to hold his attention for quite some time.
“I worked for a while and then I got licensed to be a barber. Then I decided I didn’t want to cut hair so I come back to the old business. People like my fragrances because they want their home to smell good. I guarantee when you buy my products you will be back,” he said.
Incense is a dollar and oils are $5.00. As for Campbell, anyone who makes a purchase for $25.00 or more, can get a free “blingy” Santa hat. Or, visit Nicole, who sells an array of beauty products, like lotions and perfumes.
“We are dying for their support,” said Mac Freedom, who has been selling T-shirts here for about 25 years.
“Support Black businesses because we are dying in L.A. In the 80s and 90s [business] was pretty good. But beginning in the 2000s it got a little rougher,” he explained.
“It is sort of rough out here,” she said.
“[But] I have a lot of fun out here. I meet a lot of nice people. I meet shady people too and crazy people.”
Mac Freedom, T-shirt guy
Shari Campbell (sitting) and Ouija, Fancy for Less
Photos by Brian W. Carter