Native Philadelphian Khalil Bey faithfully sells hand-crafted products at Broad Street and Girard Avenue.
While Temple’s Main Campus is known for its street-food vendors, those who sell other goods are often overlooked. Philadelphia native Khalil Bey is a vendor at the corner of Broad Street and Girard Avenue, where he sells handmade jewelry, fragrant body oils and incense.
Bey said he worked for the school board years ago before becoming a vendor. While he said he is passionate about education, specifically African-American history, he added that he became a vendor because entrepreneurship allows him to be independent.
“Ever since I was a child I wanted to own my own business,” Bey said. “It’s always been this thing about me having my own – being able to represent yourself and not a corporation, and just you.”
“I wanted to be able to service my [community] in whatever way I could with whatever business I [choose],” Bey added.
During the years Bey learned the trade of jewelry making. He sells various handcrafted pieces made out of copper and other metals.
“I learned to make jewelry years ago, back in the mid-80s,” Bey said. “I learned how to make bracelets, earrings and rings. I had a few brothers that taught me a few techniques. It’s a nice skill to have.”
In addition to the jewelry Bey sells, he has a wide variety of traditional body oils, which he explains are better than commercial perfumes.
“[Oils] are a very good essential to have,” Bey said. “It’s better than wearing perfume because [oils] aren’t alcohol based.”
“Also, oils are traditional,” he added. “They go back thousands of years.”
Bey said that oils have a historical context to their use. Egyptians, like Cleopatra, were known for wearing the rarest oils.
Bey said he enjoys his work and added that he observes what goes on in the community daily. Bey said he sees that there is always room for improvement and offers this advice to everyone in the community.
“I’d like to see my [surrounding community] strive and grow, and do better things with themselves right now,” Bey said. “Be brave and be yourself, and stop trying to be someone else.”
Kierra Bussey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.