MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Once upon a time in Hickory Hill, a town center was transformed into a place where hundreds of beautiful dresses almost suddenly appear, and dreams come true.
Memphian Davina Jones is helping hundreds of girls enjoy an almost magical experience, making her a Remarkable Woman.
Of course, not every girl gets the chance to feel like a princess for prom because their families can’t afford it, but Jones is like a fairy godmother in Memphis magically appearing to help conjure up a dress for the ball.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do, and make it a fairytale, an actual fairytale where the princess can walk in, find that perfect dress and say yes to the dress,” Jones said.
Each year hundreds of young women who are high school juniors and seniors come to find the perfect dress. They try them on, and when they say yes to the dress, the bells ring.
It all started back in 2014 when Davina was talking with a parent who didn’t have the money for their daughter to attend prom.
“A parent was talking to me in the grocery store, telling me about prom, about the resources she did not have to actually purchase the things. I went back to my family and friends told them what was about to happen,” Jones said. “Everybody decided to donate.”
Almost like magic, that one donation sparked the idea for Davina to create Couture Cares.
It’s a 501C3 organization that, with the help of volunteers and community partners, plants seeds of change to improve the lives no matter one’s race or income.
My goal was if I could be a blessing to somebody, I want to make sure I’m doing it right,” she said.
Couture Cares did it so right that it grew into their largest yearly event called “Her Prom Closet Experience.”
It’s setup like a department store with hundreds of dresses on racks, accessories and shoes, and individual dressing rooms, but it’s also much more.
“We actually give them a guest speaker. We have different sessions and classes for them to have also, along with colleges to come in,” Jones said.
She also teaches the parents financial literacy.
“It teaches the young ladies responsibility and being able to choose things, match your clothes and get what fits you and what you look good in, so it teaches a whole lot of life qualities,” said volunteer Dr. Derrick Payne.
What began in Memphis has branched out to Jackson, Mississippi, and Chicago. The group is trying to work out details to expand to Nashville and Birmingham.
Beyond the dresses, Davina and Couture Cares provide college scholarships to high school seniors, feed the homeless and offer Christmas Community Outreach to families in need.
During the pandemic, they developed “The Floating Kitchen 901,” teaching young women and men how to cook via Zoom with the help of Memphis Chef Regan Ogelsby.
“We’ve been able to service 200 kids and they’re actually cooking in their home with Chef Regan,” Jones said.
From cooking, scholarships, community outreach and dresses, it’s Davina’s recipe for compassion.
“I’m 100 percent behind her. She’s definitely a phenomenal woman,” Payne said.