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UNLV student opens secondhand clothing boutique in Spring Valley

Being a small-business owner is hard enough, and adding the task of going to school full time makes for a hectic schedule.

However, Mariam Habashi, 20, is not fazed. She studies political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with the goal of starting law school and becoming a corporate lawyer.

In June, Habashi opened Cleopatra’s Treasures, 3650 S. Decatur Blvd., a used clothing store where customers can buy, sell and trade clothing and accessories.

"I have to be really dedicated," Habashi said of balancing work and school. "Owning your own business means you have to be committed, but I’m just as committed to school."

She said she opened the store during the summer to give her a head start on the business before the fall semester starts in late August.

Habashi, an Egyptian born in Athens, Greece, moved with her family to Las Vegas 15 years ago, and her store reflects her heritage. The carpet is a tiger print. The walls are adorned with colorful scarves and images of the sun.

"It’s a mix of Arab environments," she said. "There’s a lot of diversity in the store. We have things from all over the world."

Many of her items were purchased on her trips back to Greece and Egypt or from tourists visiting the store.

For two years Habashi managed a Mustang Clothing Xchange, where she worked more than 50 hours a week.

"I thought … ‘If I’m working this many hours, I might as well do it for myself,’ " Habashi said. "I could see the potential, but the owner and I just disagreed on things."

Habashi and her mother, Sherin Bishara, are now business partners.

"My goal was to open any business," Bishara said. "When she came to me and said she wanted to open a clothing store, I thought, ‘Wonderful.’ We need to think about the future of our family."

Bishara said it is the perfect partnership.

"I have the money. She has the experience," she said. "She is very smart, so intelligent and independent. I believe in her."

Habashi said the business is going well.

"(The store) has succeeded beyond my expectations," she said. "We brought it together really quick … business has picked up really quick."

Habashi said the influx of costumers is due in part to a lack of used clothing stores in the area.

Many of the used clothing stores in the valley are across from UNLV. The only options for Spring Valley residents are thrift stores, which do not buy clothing or allow trading.

Bishara said she is most proud of the hard work her daughter puts into everything she does.

"She is not one of those lazy girls," Bishara said. "She has a goal she wants to accomplish, and she will accomplish it."

For more information, call 873-1406.

Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Nolan Lister at nlister@viewnews.com or 383-0492.

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