The DIY Couple Running Hunker Goods
Ashley and Denton aren’t your average married couple.
While most partners spend their days separately, each at his or her own workplace, Ashley and Denton meet in their studio – and they get to work.
That’s because life partners aside, they’re also business partners who run Hunker Goods, a Nashville-based lifestyle brand that sells handcrafted goods deeply rooted in American heritage.
This is their wild story.
Americana and the Wild West
Creating products influenced by Americana and the wild west wasn’t an arbitrary decision the couple chanced upon.
Both Denton and Ashley share a fierce passion for the style and, in particular, its timelessness, minimalism, and simplicity.
“For us, Americana is really this connection to the past. It’s finding your great-grandfather’s toolbox – the idea of having something that has lasted you forever,” says Ashley.
This theme of past connections is one they carry over into their creations.
Their backpack, The 1920 Pack, was inspired by one of the earliest designs of the backpack from a century ago. Despite its period-piece characteristic, it remains trendy to this day and continues to sell.
Its versatility makes it great for anything from a casual day out in the city to an excursion in nature.
The same goes for their Mail Pouch.
It’s a quality replica of the mail bags used during the Pony Express in the early 1860s when messages and newspapers were being delivered by horse-mounted riders.
The “Americana-ness” in Hunker Goods’s products extends to their manufacturing process. All of their pieces are crafted using only locally made materials sourced from other US-owned and operated businesses.
For instance, the waxed canvas Ashley and Denton use for their bags, like this Rope Handle Duffel Bag, is procured from a family-owned business in Missouri.
Staying true to the timelessness of the Americana style, Hunker Goods also has a heavy focus on quality, using only sturdy materials that are meant to stand the test of time.
Their bag straps and strap holders are made with bridle leather. It’s a material known for its durability and ability to sustain heavy loads, which makes it perfect for straps.
Advocates of the slow fashion movement, Ashley and Denton pride themselves on creating products that get “better with age.”
“When you get a bag from us, it is handmade, literally here, in our studio and it’s going to tell your story,” says Ashley.
“And if you take care of those, you’ll have them forever.”
From Bags to Goods
If you’re a fan of American rock music, the name Denton Hunker may ring a bell or two. That’s because entrepreneur aside, Denton’s also a professional musician and plays the drums for Green River Ordinance, a Southern rock band from Texas.
It was actually all his traveling to and from performances that led Denton to realize that he needed a quality travel bag.
Frustrated at the lack of functional and fashionable bags for men, Denten decided to – quite literally – take things into his own hands by designing and making his own.
His first design, which he named “Duffle No. 1,” was a head-turner.
People were constantly approaching him to enquire about the bag and asking how they could get one for themselves. Some encouragement from his band members and friends later, Denton decided to launch Hunker Bag Co.
This was back in 2015, and the brand’s early product line included duffles, totes, and wallets catering to both men and women.
Needless to say, the venture was successful.
A Two-man Team
With so much effort going into running a business, let alone leading it to success and expanding it, you’d think there was an entire team behind Hunker Goods.
But that’s not quite the case for Ashley and Denton.
From material sourcing, sewing, and crafting to design and marketing, it’s just the two of them working on everything together.
“We’re very DIY,” says Denton. “It’s just the two of us.”
The couple is even breaking gender stereotypes. Denton, having picked up the skill from his grandmother while growing up, is the one that’s behind the sewing machine.
“I’m the only one in this household who knows how to sew. So I get the job of sewing everything,” says Denton.
It might also be second nature to him, with the rhythmic beats of the sewing machine calling out to the drummer in him.
Ashley, on the other hand, has a background in marketing and creative direction and has worked with big-name clients like Eva Franco and Disney.
With over a decade’s worth of experience in styling, she handles the more creative aspects of their business.
“For me, I’m thinking of what is our story that we’re telling through our visuals and then also designing products,” says Ashley.
Not only are Ashley and Denton the brains behind Hunker Goods, but they’re also the face of it.
They enjoy the DIY aspect of running the brand so much, they even model for their own product images, which feature heavily on their Instagram account.
Though they spend a lot of their time in their Nashville studio, the adventure-loving duo also enjoy their time away.
They’re often hitting the road in their vintage 1966 camper and even have a travel blog and vlog on YouTube dedicated to their travels.
But as true entrepreneurs, they know that the work never really stops even when they’re out on their adventures.
“We go all around the country and we’re constantly finding inspiration wherever we go,” says Ashley.
Their Commitment to Retailers
Ashley and Denton know just how much work goes into running and maintaining a business.
So when a store owner approaches them and wants to stock their products, they do their utmost best to fulfill the request.
“They’re pouring their heart and soul into their store, so they deserve a product equally as great as their store,” says Denton.
Because all of their bags are made to order, each involving laborious cutting, sewing, and boxing processes, production can take up to three weeks.
Though it may be hard work, Ashley and Denton enjoy every single step of the craft.
“At the end of the day, we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to do what we wanna do,” says Denton.
“Because it’s just our lives extended through our business.”
Hunker Goods’s products are available wholesale from $45. Find their entire range of products on their Handshake profile.