• Anita Davis
    Anita Davis Owner/Collector/Visionary

    “For me, the best thing about ESSE is the personal touch. I love hearing the stories that other women tell me after or during a visit at the museum about their purse experiences.”

    Anita Davis has two grown daughters who live out of state and three dogs who keep her house full. She has a bachelor of science degree and varied life experience that includes owning a mail-order catalog called “Pure and Simple” in the 1980s.

    She loves outsider art, blues music – Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues” is her favorite song – digging for crystals and learning about the mysteries of life. She has a talent for finding valuables (“They’re valuable to me!”) in unexpected places. Her favorite book is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and she loves anything by Gladys Knight.

  • Abby Olivier
    Abby Olivier Museum & Program Director

    “I love that ESSE encourages thoughtful reflection and conversation on the evolution of the 20th Century woman. Viewing women’s advancements and expression through this sacred lens-the purse and its contents-is a unique and inspiring experience. I love that our museum and overall vibe is simply about celebrating women!”

    Hailing from Mississippi, Abby moved to Little Rock in 2012. She has worked primarily in the fields of community and public engagement, philanthropy, and social change. Before coming to ESSE, she received her MPS from and worked full time for the Clinton School of Public Service.

    Abby enjoys playing tennis, skimming fashion blogs, cooking with her fiancé Jay, and snuggling with her kitties Cali, Rascal, and Lil’ Mama.

  • Ally Short Weaver
    Ally Short Weaver Store Manager

    “I love interacting with all the very different people who come through ESSE, especially after they’ve seen the museum. Most people are surprised by how much they enjoy it and the memories it elicits, especially the men!”

    Before ESSE, Ally finished her BFA (specializing in Applied Design and Metals) by waiting tables and selling her art. Last year she married “my best friend, Charleston, and we have three beautiful fur-babies, Malibu, Marley and Brutus.”

    Ally loves to be near water, preferably the ocean. Her favorite book is The Outsiders, but she’s pretty sure she has every Dr. Seuss book memorized.

    Her favorite quote comes from Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

  • CRYSTAL C. MERCER
    CRYSTAL C. MERCER Store Associate

    “I love being apart of ESSE because I am in an environment that is positive and it is a magical place where womanhood, art, culture, history, and community are constantly being celebrated. ESSE allows me to be the vibrant woman that I am in a city that I love… and I get to share it all with the world; there is no greater gift.”

    C. C. is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. She’s a Performance Artist, Poet, Activist and the Sole Proprietor of Columbus Creative Arts + Activism and SAFI FABric MARKET. Mercer’s past credits include a number of plays and musicals in Arkansas, off – Broadway in New York, and internationally in Canterbury, England. Mercer fuses arts and activism by using theatre and textiles to tell social justice narratives, through merchandising and storytelling, with an emphasis of uplifting voices of color.

    A dedicated public servant, a woman of many creative talents, and daughter of the legendary late civil rights lawyer, Attorney Christopher C. Mercer, Jr., she honors the legacy of her father by using theatre arts as a tool for empowerment, education, and social justice.

  • Steven Otis
    Steven Otis Art Director

    “The best part of working at ESSE is everything I have learned about 20th-century American women. Their struggles, triumphs, perseverance and strength was phenomenal. The style evolution through the decades is pretty incredible as well.”

    After graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle in 1998 with an associate degree in visual communications with a focus on illustration, Steven Otis missed the South and came home. He worked in advertising and for various magazines before going to work for himself as a freelancer. He‘s worked with Anita Davis for almost a decade on a variety of projects, which he enjoys for the “creativity and opportunity to be a part of her vision for the South Main Street revitalization.”