Syed and Kubra Hussain moved from California to Cedar Rapids to open Miracle Boutique, a store offering one-of-a-kind merchandise in Lindale Mall.
Kubra Hussain contends the store, which celebrated its grand opening on Nov. 23, is the first of its kind in Iowa.
"There’s no store like this in any mall that sells handmade, imported items from India," Hussain said.
The boutique offers traditional South Asian and western-style women’s apparel, jewelry, tribal handbags, pashmina shawls, tapestries and other home décor at affordable prices. Many of the items are hand-sewn, hand-painted or hand-sculpted.
“It’s all unique,” Kubra Hussain said. “I don’t have two of anything.”
Hussain, who is a first-generation American, says the store is a reflection of her South Asian heritage.
“I love my traditions and everything about my ethnic place,” Hussain said. “The vibrant colors are warm and inviting, just like the Indian culture.
"The store is not just for the Indian community. It’s for everyone."
Hussain, who has a degree in apparel marketing and design, had long dreamed of having a shop like Miracle Boutique. However, she put her ambitions on hold to marry and have children.
“One part of my life is successful,” Hussain said of being the mother of two young children. “Now it’s time to work on my career."
Kubra and Syed Hussain came to Cedar Rapids at the urging of Syed’s sister and brother-in-law, who operate Miracle Eyebrow Threading and Henna Tattoo, also located in Lindale Mall.
"They said business is good here, that there are a lot of small business owners who support other small businesses," Kubra Hussain said. "We decided to give it a try and used our savings to move out here."
The Hussains arrived in Cedar Rapids in April, but had to wait several months for space to open at Lindale Mall. They did not give serious consideration to locations outside the mall.
“Other locations would be hard to market,” Kubra Hussain explained. “Everything is already right here.”
Miracle Boutique is located in the Center Court Lower Level. It previously housed an Army recruiting center and then served as a temporary location for GNC.
The Hussains remodeled the space themselves, installing shelving, mirrors and crown molding to create a cozy boutique atmosphere.
Because of its location in a relatively quiet part of the mall, the shop has not had as much foot traffic as Kubra Hussain would have liked in its first weeks of operation.
“We’ve done some tables upstairs and have had really good response from that,” she said. “Now we need people to come down here and see us. Come, check it out and see what we are."
At a glance