• 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.

  • Ally Short Weaver
    Ally Short Weaver Director

    “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. She is married with two beautiful boys, Calder and Dax. Dax is the unofficial “Chairman of the Board” and can be found hanging around ESSE most days.

    Ally loves to be near water, preferably the ocean. Her boys keep her busy and require that she memorize all Disney movies and Dr. Seuss books.

    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.”

  • 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.”

  • Thandi Toshi Brown
    Thandi Toshi Brown Store Manager
  • Treopia Bryant
    Treopia Bryant Communications Consultant
  • Carly Cate
    Carly Cate Social Media Specialist

    Working for Esse since August 2017, Carly creates social media content for the museum and store. Employed full time as a writing and literature instructor at Henderson State University, she appreciates the opportunity to write creatively about women’s history and especially fashion. “When a patron is truly excited to not only see the museum but also learn about the history, I LOVE that. Likewise, when they find that perfect handbag or accessory in Esse’s store and just go for it, I’m right there, living vicariously through that purchase and thinking, ‘Go you! You deserve that!’ (Or more accurately, saying that aloud while clapping my hands and doing a happy dance…)”

    When she’s not writing blogs or snapping photos of customers, Carly is grading stacks of papers, binge-watching series with her husband Marck and five pets or perfecting her craft- budget-conscious fashion maven.
  • Ashley-Pauline Moore
    Ashley-Pauline Moore Collection and Events Coordinator
    Before joining ESSE Ashley earned her BA in Art History, working in art museums both in Arkansas and San Francisco, California. Her passion for vintage style, accessories, and their functions throughout history is what led her to ESSE.

    In her downtime, you can find Ashley at the dog park with her two dogs listening to true crime podcasts. She enjoys photography, embroidering, and sign painting.