Local Army wife finds job tailored for military spouses

Urbana grad lands flexible work that can move when she does.


A bad local economy forced Urbana native Tyler Davisson to re-enlist in the Army in 2010, but his wife didn’t have a job for a couple of years for entirely different reasons.

Being a military spouse, Carly Davisson, who also grew up in Urbana, found it difficult in the area around Fort Drum, N.Y., to find work.

“They know you’re moving in a couple of years,” Carly Davisson said recently. “They don’t really want to have to replace you.”

Besides, townies near the base, she explained, frequently complained that “military spouses were trying to steal all the jobs.”

Enter R. Riveter, a designer handbag company started in 2011 by two military wives to give military spouses like Carly Davisson flexible — and mobile — employment.

On average, according to R. Riveter, military families are relocated every 2.9 years, making it difficult for the spouses to find jobs of their own.

Davisson, 31, was hired this past January and, like the other “riveters,” makes bag parts at home and then sends them on to be fabricated into a finished purse.

The 2000 Urbana High School graduate, whose husband is now based at Camp Frank D. Merrill near Dahlonega, Ga., spends her free time dyeing leather in the family garage for a line of bags that bear such military-savvy product names as “Mrs. Grant” and “Mrs. Abrams.”

Davisson had seen one of the company’s bags — made using surplus military gear like duffel bags, wool blankets and tents — at a neighbor’s place in military housing.

“I texted her and said, ‘I have to have one of those bags,’” she said.

The company currently employs 15 military spouses across the country and divides them into riveters — those who help construct the bags, like Davisson — and Rosies, the company’s independent sales reps.

Based in Dahlonega, the company obviously takes its name from Rosie the Riveter, the fictional propaganda icon who helped lure millions of women into the workforce during World War II to churn out ships and bombers.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Davisson said.

In fact, when someone asked how much she made, she admittedly wasn’t even sure.

“It does not feel like work,” she said. “It’s like a hobby.”

For Davisson, it’s a chance to do something for herself while at the same time contributing to the family’s income.

The mother of two school-age children from a previous marriage, Davisson said she mostly spent her days after the kids went to school cleaning the house. She got a cat, she said, “so somebody was home with me.”

“I realized I’m always on the sidelines,” she said, “and I’m never doing anything for me.”

Sgt. Tyler Davisson, a 1999 graduate of Urbana High, did six years with the Army as a photographer out of high school before he came home and started working at Rittal.

After her first marriage, Carly migrated back home and ended up working at Rittal as well.

Married in 2009, the Davissons found themselves in a stressful situation a year later as they both faced reduced hours at work while trying to support a family.

“We decided him going back into the service was the best thing for us,” Carly Davisson said.

The only downside was that Tyler Davisson, then 30, was given two career choices — infantry or Special Forces — and neither included holding a camera like he’d hoped.

“He said, ‘OK, I’ll take one for the team.’ A week later, he was gone,” Carly Davisson said.

Assigned at first to the Third Brigade Combat Team at Fort Drum, Tyler Davisson eventually deployed to Afghanistan for a year.

Carly Davisson said she would be happy staying in Georgia, where her husband plays an adversarial role in combat exercises for soldiers training to be Rangers.

But, she imagines they’ll be moved again at some point. If so, she’ll take her new line of work with her.

She’s also likely to be a military spouse for a long time. Tyler Davisson now plans to retire from the Army.

“We’re all in,” she said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Man who rescued newborn baby abandoned in bushes hailed as hero
Man who rescued newborn baby abandoned in bushes hailed as hero

If it weren’t for Albert Peterson, an abandoned newborn baby girl might not be alive today. Peterson is the man who, as he was rushing to work in the early morning hours, took the extra time to check on the muffled noise he heard coming from the bushes along the sidewalk of his Harris County, Texas, apartment complex. The Houston area was...
Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions
Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions

Charlie Daniels has always been outspoken about his political beliefs. So it comes as no surprise that he is sharing his opinions on the recent movement to remove Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces in the U.S. In a new interview with cable network Newsmax TV, the 80-year-old country music icon was asked whether or...
'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman killed on set was first black woman road racer
'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman killed on set was first black woman road racer

Joi “SJ” Harris, known as the first African-American woman road racer, died on the Vancouver set of “Deadpool 2” after a motorcycle crash.  The pioneer grew up in Brooklyn but didn’t catch wind of the motorcycle racing industry until adulthood.  Determined to learn how to ride, she headed to New Jersey Motorsports...
Springfield schools, residents prepare for Monday’s solar eclipse
Springfield schools, residents prepare for Monday’s solar eclipse

Clark County residents are preparing to watch the solar eclipse Monday, from schools changing dismissal times to handing out solar eclipse glasses to golfers. About 87 percent of the sun will covered by the moon at 2:30 p.m. in Springfield. It’s important to remember not to look at the solar eclipse without the proper eye protection, Wittenberg...
Army veteran who lost both legs to roadside bomb is becoming a doctor
Army veteran who lost both legs to roadside bomb is becoming a doctor

Greg Galeazzi is putting on a white coat at Harvard Medical School six years after losing his legs while serving in the Army. Galeazzi told ABC News that he lost his legs and much of his right arm when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan in May 2011, just one month before he was scheduled to head home. “It felt like I was an empty...
More Stories