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WOMEN TO WATCH: Betsy Nunez and Emily Nunez Cavness, Co-founders of Sword & Plough
Betsy Nunez and Emily Nunez Cavness are sisters, born and raised in a military family. During Thanksgivings while living at West Point (the United States Military Academy), the young sisters fondly shared meals with hundreds of soldiers. While in college, Emily was the only ROTC cadet on campus, and later attended the U.S. Army Airborne School. She still serves as an officer in the U.S. Army.
These sisters have a great understanding of the struggles many veterans face when looking for gainful employment after their military service. Such an appreciation for that situation prompted them to come up with a wonderful business idea that helps bridge the civil-military divide. Betsy and Emily’s company, Sword & Plough, repurposes wasted military surplus items into fashionable bags, jewelry, shirts, wallets and more.
With such a novel business idea, Betsy and Emily quickly got some much-needed backing. After winning a $3,000 grant, the sisters turned to crowdfunding site Kickstarter, with a goal of raising $20,000 in 30 days. Within a mere two hours, they reached their goal, and eventually, 1,000-plus backers pledged more than $300,000 to get Sword & Plough up and running.
But here’s the really cool thing about the business: By incorporating veterans into every stage of the business (as designers, managers, sewers, quality-control experts and even models), the company empowers veteran employment and brings public awareness to veteran issues. Their leather products are produced by a small, veteran-owned family business. Even their fulfillment center is veteran-owned. Additionally, 10 percent of Sword & Plough’s profits are donated to veteran initiatives.
Sword & Plough’s products are well-made and possess a refined design, which seems like a feat, given the rugged materials with which they work. Shoppers can find items in classic Army green and camouflage, but also in navy and my favorite, gray wool.
The company’s impact on the environment is also phenomenal. Since 2015, Sword & Plough has repurposed more than 25,000 pounds of military surplus that would have headed to the landfill! Now, instead of all that surplus becoming rubbish, it’s easy for women like us to support a deserving cause while looking oh so military chic!
In the 10 months since we originally featured Emily and Betsy, these two incredible women used their Sword & Plough business to repurpose more than 10,000 additional pounds of military surplus, bringing the total of recycled materials to a whopping 35,000-plus pounds.
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.