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VOL 3. NO. 9 Monday, October 25 - Sunday, November 6, 2004
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Swimming In Oils
By Sharee BROOKS
Since 1993 Veteran vendor Jamal Mumin-el of "Essences of Jamal Oils," has taken his space amongst the many vendors in the metropolitan area flea markets and trade shows who make a living selling hats, scarves, jewelry, leather goods and so much more. What does Jamal attract his customers with in a market that is truly competitive and at times unstable? Well, he sits at the head of the ultimate oil stand selling the soothing, lubricating, fragrant and healing oils of life.

Early on Jamal realized that he did not just want to settle for selling this precious liquid. He was intrigued with the history and healing powers of oils and set out to become strongly educated, well versed, and responsible when it came to supplying his customers with the various oils that he sold. With a newly released and self published book on oils, {The Business of Oils and Incense}, Jamal Mumin-el now looks forward to the continual growth and success of a business that not only supports him, but demands his utmost respect as it quenches his thirst for knowledge as well.

Recently Jamal took time out from his busy schedule to talk with the Metro Connection.

Metro ConnectionWhat attracted you to the vending business?
JamalMainly because I really don't like working for anyone else.
Metro ConnectionIs vending a full time job for you?
JamalYes. It's the only thing that I do right now. I do flea markets and trade shows on the weekends and mail orders daily. I also have incense, African shea butter, tea tree, and jojoba oils under my own brand.
Metro ConnectionHow did you become so interested in selling oils?
JamalI attended the University of California and the people that I used to stay with were from Libya. They used to bring oils back with them and there was this Jasmine oil! They did not smell like normal colognes or perfumes. When I came back to D.C. there was a community of people based out of New York called the Ansur-Allah (helpers of God), headed under Dr. York, a great spiritual teacher. They facilitated my interest in oils and kept it keen and sharp.
Metro ConnectionCan you give me a brief history on oils?
JamalFor medicinal use, oils have been used for thousands and thousands of years since the time of Jesus. During the times of Cleopatra they were used for aromatherapy, for medicinal use and just to liven things up. Through my research I found that Cleopatra favored very strong masculine scents. She favored henna and camphor.
Metro ConnectionWhy are oils so essential to everyday living?
JamalOils enhance a person's life through their medicinal purposes. There is lavender oil that is good for diabetes and herpes. It is one of the few oils that can be rubbed directly on the injury. Oils are like a peaceful memory, you can smell a certain scent and it can remind you of pleasant times or a special person.
Metro ConnectionWhat are your best selling products?
JamalOver the last three years it has been Lavender and Majmua (pronounced match more).
Metro ConnectionHow much of your own product do you use on a daily basis?
JamalI mainly use about three different scents: Majmua, Myrrh and Arabian Sandalwood.
Metro ConnectionAre there oils that are specifically better for women than men and vise versa?
JamalThere is really no specific oil for either men or women, but lavender is great for both and most of the darker/heavier oils such as henna and camphor that Cleopatra liked are used more by men.
Metro ConnectionWhat about children or pets?
JamalAgain Lavender is good. There are many different oils for animals. Sweet orange oil for example is a good aphrodisiac for dogs both male and female when applied to their coats and essential peppermint oil (not the fragrance) is great for keeping fleas and ticks away.
Metro ConnectionWhat about insects or other pest found in the home?
JamalLavender, tea tree, citronella or camphor oils. Citronella blended with camphor repels mosquitoes. Peppermint oil is good for the control of mice; they cannot stand the smell of it.
Metro ConnectionWhat about the staining of clothing?
JamalAny oil that is made synthetically is not good to put on the clothing. Essential oils (not man made) are fine.
Metro ConnectionCan any oils be taken internally?
JamalMany oils can be taken externally and internally. The sweet orange oil can be put in your food, inside the body and out. The hyssop oil was used by Jesus and is anti-fungal and anti-viral. It can be taken internally but must be taken with caution and should not be used by pregnant women or women having menstrual problems.
Metro ConnectionWhat is the blue bottle packaging that you use and what relevance does it have to oils?
JamalMost cobalt blue bottles originated in France. It is a good bottle to use because it shields the oils from the sun; it has an attractive romantic look and is an identity bottle for me. It is not good to sell oils in plastic or aluminum. They sometimes warm up, get a bad smell and even become toxic.
Metro ConnectionWhy did you feel a need to do a book on oils and what inspired you to also offer advice to others via business terms and contacts?
JamalI am one of the few East Coast authorities on oils. So it was to explain the oils because most people who are selling the oils today cannot explain the history, medicinal, or full purpose of the oils I also needed some type of summation of the many years that I have been in the business.
If you are interested in purchasing special oils, Jamal's book, "The Essence of Oils and Incense," or original products created by Jamal, you can stop by "Essences of Jamal Oils " on Saturday or Sunday between 12-4 p.m. at the Shaw Community Flea Market located at 13th and U street, NW. Or call 202-801-6396.

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