Dominique Harness seeks to ‘create, empower, and motivate’ girls of all ages

by Katie Arvia

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 1, 2019) – Create, empower, and motivate: these are three principles that D. Vine Boutique strives to instill in girls of all ages. The organization, created by Dominique Harness, works to build self-esteem and inspire young girls to be the best versions of themselves.

Harness saw the need to use her company, D. Vine Boutique, to pursue this mission after witnessing her own daughter’s encounter with bullying. Mother and daughter were attending an outdoor event, and the girl’s father had done her hair into “a nice afro with a bow,” remembers Harness. “Well, after 10 minutes of playing, her bow was gone and her afro was everywhere!” What shocked Harness was the judgement she and her daughter received as a result. “She was called tar baby,” says Harness, “told that her parents sent her out like no one loved her, told she looked homeless, and asked if her parents knew what a straightening comb was.

“I watched the sparkle in my two-year-old’s eyes die.”

Heartbroken, Harness decided to use D. Vine Boutique to build up not only her daughter, but “every other girl that has been told they were not enough.”

“The mission [of D. Vine Boutique] is important to me because the issue that happened at the forest preserve spoke volumes to me,” Harness said. “It merely showed how we accept what society says we should be—accept it, and project it on to others without even thinking about it.”

Harness, a teacher at Deer Creek Christian School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, says this experience helped her understand the issues that young people are going through.

Mothers and daughters

On May 4, 2019, D. Vine Boutique hosted a “Mother Daughter Par…Tea.” The event featured a fashion show, mother-daughter arts and crafts, and throne chairs fit for a queen. It served as a reminder to the girls that their mothers are their biggest supporters.

Dominique Harness (center) wants to inspire girls to be the best versions of themselves. (Photo provided)

“The event was amazing! So many mothers and daughters left inspired,” Harness said. “The girls had opportunities to make candles, and everyone designed a positive affirmation mirror to remind them they are simply beautiful.”

Fashioning friendships

Harness also hosted a four-week workshop at Deer Creek called Fashion Club, which is described as “a safe space for girls ages 5–12 to come and build each other up.” Participants were given the opportunity to self-reflect and create personalized accessories such as bows, t-shirts, tutus, or shoes.

“They are given simple tools…to create something beautiful, out of what started as a simple roll of tulle,” Harness explained. “This is to symbolize that with hard work and dedication, beautiful things can be created.”

Harness herself creates custom outfits for girls across the country. She even worked with students from Lansing-based Visible Music College to create a commercial for D. Vine Boutique.

Bringing hope

This summer, Harness has plans to travel to Nashville to work with Dave Ramsey’s and Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. She also hopes to continue empowering and motivating girls by hosting an eight-week workshop at Living Hope Community Church in South Holland.

“In this summer workshop, I hope that girls will discover more amazing things about themselves, and realize more of their hidden talents,” Harness said. “We will be handmaking leather bows, lip gloss, and candles, bedazzling shoes, and so much more.”

This workshop is open to all girls and will take place from June 15 to August 3. For more information, visit Fashion Club Summer Workshop.

To learn more about D. Vine Boutique, contact Dominque Harness at [email protected].

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Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").