Sword & Plough: From Army Surplus to Stylish Bags, Startup Secures Investment From Former Chairman and CEO of Hasbro
Sword & Plough, a fashion brand that repurposes military surplus materials, started by U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Emily Núñez Cavness, announces today that the former Chairman and CEO of Hasbro Toys, Alan Hassenfeld, has joined as the company’s first equity investor.
DENVER – April 1st, 2015. Sword & Plough has completed an equity capital fundraising with social impact investor Alan Hassenfeld, former CEO and Chairman of Hasbro Toys. As CEO and Chairman of Hasbro from 1989 to 2008, Mr. Hassenfeld led the company’s growth strategy and eventual IPO. He is credited with diversifying Hasbro’s portfolio of companies and expanding international operations while initiating a singular brand of corporate activism designed to improve the lives of children. He was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1996, and is now a leading voice in the world of social impact investing. He has served on the Sword & Plough (S&P) board of advisors since the company’s launch in 2013, and is now warmly welcomed into the firm’s ownership group. Mr. Hassenfeld comments:
“I have always believed in the founding team and guiding mission behind Sword & Plough. It has been my honor to serve on the company’s Board of Advisors since its incubation and launch through Middlebury’s College’s Center For Social Entrepreneurship. I am now proud to join the company as its first equity investor. Together, with the deeply passionate Núñez sisters and their committed team, we can scale this business and achieve significant impact in the military veteran community.”
Sword & Plough has not disclosed specific terms of the investment. CFO Cully Cavness states:
"2014 was an important year of growth for S&P, and put us in the right position to raise capital in early 2015. In 2014, S&P doubled its product line, and Business Insider recognized our social impact efforts by listing us among the 20 Most Inspiring Companies of 2014 (alongside TOMS, Patagonia, and Starbucks). Our momentum was boosted by TV appearances on USA, The Today Show, ABC, and Fox and Friends, resulting in a surge of orders in Q4. Looking forward, we have plans to use Alan’s investment for hiring, technological improvements to boost production capacity, increasing inventory levels for direct and wholesale customers, marketing and branding initiatives, and development of new product lines. After partnering with TOMS and Under Armour in 2014, we are eager to expand into new retail partnerships in 2015. This investment sets the stage for the next wave of growth at Sword & Plough.”
Mr. Hassenfeld brings valuable experience and retail knowledge to S&P. Co-Founder and CEO, Emily Núñez Cavness notes:
“Much like Sword & Plough, Hasbro began as a family business before growing into one of the largest retail brands in the world – the company passed through three generations of Hassenfelds before Alan took the reigns. Alan knows how to grow a business and diversify a brand, all without forgetting the company’s roots and commitment to social impact. We are excited about the incredible momentum Sword & Plough is building and believe that, with this investment, we can accelerate our company's growth and social impact.”
U.S veteran unemployment rates are almost 50% higher than the national average, and 1 million veterans are estimated to exit the military and begin the job hunt between 2012-2017. S&P employs veterans in positions of management, strategy consulting, design, and modeling. The company also works with partners that are owned or partially staffed by veterans to create jobs in warehouse management, sewing, screen printing and other forms of manufacturing. Additionally, S&P donates 10% of after-tax profits to veteran organizations such as Got Your 6 and Rocky Mountain Human Services. S&P also donates product for fundraising auctions to organizations such as The Navy Seal Foundation and the Healing Warriors Program. Complete details on the company’s social impact initiatives are available online through the Impact Page of the company’s website.
About Sword & Plough
Sword & Plough launched on Kickstarter.com in May 2013, achieving one of that year’s most successful crowd funding campaigns for a fashion brand by pre-selling more than $312,000 in one month. S&P is a quadruple bottom line (people, purpose, planet, profit) company that works with veterans to repurpose military surplus fabric into bags and apparel. The company also bridges the civil-military gap by raising awareness of veteran issues through marketing, social media, independent research publication, and speaking engagements. Since its launch, the company has sourced more than 20,000 pounds of military surplus materials such as tents, sleeping bag covers and camouflage canvas to be repurposed into fashionable bags, packs and apparel.
Sword & Plough was created by co-founding sisters Emily and Betsy Núñez, daughters to a retired Army Colonel. Growing up, the sisters watched their father lead soldiers, which inspired Emily to serve in the military herself. While at Airborne School, Emily heard firsthand accounts of the challenges faced by veterans when re-entering the civilian work force. These stories inspired her to help those service men and women by building a social enterprise. Emily currently serves as an active duty 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Ft. Carson, Colorado. She has served in Arizona, Colorado, and Afghanistan.
To join the Sword & Plough community, visit Facebook. Recent media coverage includes Business Insider, Inc., Esquire, Bloomberg Business Week, CoCo Eco. The founding team was named to Forbes’ 30-Under-30 list for 2014.