The Story

Charlotte Stengel

ARCHITYPE Founder, Proprietor, and Designer, inspired by science, art and architecture

While earning her degree in Architecture from the University of Kentucky, Charlotte Stengel studied in the Mediterranean, Europe and India. She practiced in the traditional field of architecture for several years and it was her love of science that led her to do graduate work in Medicine. In medical school, at the University of Louisville, she met Dena Wilson and their collaboration as study partners grew during long hours of gross anatomy, neurology and the rest of the med school curriculum. Along with classes and research, came children, and Stengel, deciding that her responsibilities to her family at that time took priority, stepped away from medical school. She continued to design in her husband's firm, Stengel Hill Architecture. During this time, the path to ARCHITYPE was forged.


The QUIVER, Stengel's first design, was created out of the need for a professional and sophisticated bag in which to carry drawings and documents to client meetings. Her friend, Dena Wilson, liked it so much that she requested one to carry as a handbag. The bag received many requests and raves and the two women decided to partner again...As business partners. In May 2008, Stengel and Wilson launched ARCHITYPE, a design house specializing in original leather bags and accessories. The flagship gallery in Louisville, KY, also designed by Stengel, displays all of ARCHITYPE's originals. Architecture and Science inspire Stengel's designs and her bags reflect thoughtful functionality and sophisticated simplicity.

Dena Wilson

ARCHITYPE Co-Founder and Co-Proprietor


Dena Wilson received her degree in Spanish and her degree in Medicine from the University of Louisville. She practiced Medicine in the Psychiatry Residency program in Louisville. During her educational preparation and medical residency, Wilson started her family of three children. Choosing to make family-life her main priority while her children were young, she left the residency program to devote herself as a full-time mother. Maintaining her interest in psychology, life sciences and an intellectual interest in Human Behavior, Wilson, like Stengel, continued to study neuropsychology at the graduate level. She and longtime med-school friend, Stengel, began to study Jungian literature and archetypes.

During this time, Stengel had designed the QUIVER, a utilitarian bag for architectural drawings, and Wilson loved it. Wilson saw the inherent value in exploring the psychological impact of an everyday functional product, namely a handbag. How does such an item reflect and possibly affect its owner? Furthermore, Wilson's life on a viable Bison Ranch further inspired her to utilize the sustainable by-product of leather as the medium for such a product. The synchronicity of Wilson's and Stengel's lives, interests, and principles rooted the formation of ARCHITYPE, the name playing on the reference to Stengel's background in Architecture and Wilson's background in Psychiatry. As Co-Proprietor of ARCHITYPE, Wilson focuses on Company Development through marketing and distribution in stores in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, as well as maintaining the flagship store, ARCHITYPE Gallery, in Louisville, KY. Wilson enjoys watching how customers respond to ARCHITYPE designs and how each person finds self-expression in an ARCHITYPE Bag.