MILWAUKEE — Edgar and Elizabeth Birdsong started their business 18 years ago in the front yard of a family member's home.
They sell everything from lotions to soaps, but one product in particular earned them the nickname "The Oil People."
"I've always been a smell good kind of guy. Once I tried the oil, I was hooked. I found a wholesale connection and I started selling oils," Edgar said.
Birdsong's has over 700 different high quality scents you can add to any of their body-care products.
"We have lotions, shower gel, body oils, body butter, massage oils, that you can custom put all your fragrances in, so you can really layer your fragrance and really make it pop," Edgar shared.
Tomisha Greer is a loyal customer. She said she is taken in by the store's aroma as soon as she walks through the door.
"I love the smells and everything is just rich and inviting," Greer said.
Birdsong's will be a vendor at Milwaukee's Juneteenth Day celebration this year. They will have a small sampling of everything they sell, including African attire.
"There's a lot of kente prints that really are a form of expression when it comes to freedom in America," Edgar said. "We sell a lot of things for Juneteenth. A lot of young ladies come for the pageant. This is sort of like a hub or an outlet for people that want to show off."
Juneteenth fashion is not just about style, It really is about self expression and freedom and the clothing aspect of the slave trade often gets overlooked. Slave owners were required by law to clothe those who were enslaved and it's safe to say that comfort, weather, and the type of material were things never taken into consideration. Stories are told over and over how those who were emancipated couldn't wait to run to the banks of the rivers to shed their slave clothing and really be able to finally display who they were and where they came from. That is why many of the fashions that you see on Juneteenth represent self-expression and freedom.
Whether you are looking for specialty t-shirts, organic soap, car freshers, or oils, Birdsong's has plenty to choose from. Whatever you wear and whatever you do, the message behind Junteenth is clear: Celebrate freedom in the city we love.
"I love Milwaukee," Edgar said. "I was born and raised here in Milwaukee and my customers have really been supportive and I couldn't see myself doing anything else."
Birdsong's Distribution is located at 2216 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr. in Milwaukee.