Sword & Plough has been in the making since our founders, sisters Emily and Betsy, were born into a military family. Living at West Point, sharing Thanksgiving dinners with hundreds of soldiers in mess halls, hearing about her dad’s deployments and research, and watching her uncle, a Marine NASA Astronaut pilot, launch his space shuttle, are just a few of the experiences that inspired Emily to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army.
As a student at Middlebury College, Emily was the only ROTC cadet on a campus of 2,450 — most of her friends had never met someone in the military. After her sophomore year, Emily attended the U.S. Army Airborne School where she met soldiers who spoke of the struggles some of their veteran friends faced while attempting to gain employment after military service.
"From the beginning, Sword & Plough has been about more than just creating bags. We’ve always been excited to create high quality products, but our hope was that these products could be used as a platform to promote change." - Emily Núñez Cavness, Co-founder & CEO
All of these experiences culminated in Sword & Plough's creation during Emily's senior year at college. After listening to an inspiring speech by Jacqueline Novagratz during Middlebury’s first social entrepreneurship symposium, a light bulb clicked on – Emily began to think 'What in my life is often discarded and could be turned into something beautiful with a purposeful mission?" How incredible would it be to repurpose military surplus material into durable and fashionable bags that people could use every day? By incorporating veterans into every stage of the business (from design, to sewing, management, fulfillment, sales, even modeling), we could empower veteran employment. Through its branding and outreach, Sword & Plough could help bridge the civil-military divide. The repurposed bags could be used as conversation pieces and the company could become a platform to strengthen understanding between civilians and the veteran community. Inspired to give back to the veteran community through sustainable fashion, Sword & Plough was born!
We’re excited about how far we’ve come since 2012, and we invite you to learn more about our impact here!
Made in AMERICA with care for the PLANET
We empower veteran employment at every stage of our business, including the design process, manufacturing, fulfillment, sales, and even lookbook modeling. Since 2012, Sword & Plough has helped support over 65 veteran jobs through positions on our own team, with our contract manufacturing partners (which are veteran owned or partially staffed by veterans), through our veteran owned fulfillment center, and via our Brand Champion program.
We reduce our waste and minimize our carbon footprint by incorporating thousands of pounds of repurposed military surplus materials in our product line, manufacturing exclusively in the United States, and using recycled materials in our packaging.
Sword & Plough is committed to strengthening civil-military understanding. Our team knows that veterans are highly skilled technical professionals, problem solvers, and proven leaders who are empowering assets to civilian communities and companies. Through our products, social media, email, blog and public speaking opportunities, we work to educate others about the value that veterans provide
Emily Núñez Cavness, Co-Founder and Chairwoman. Emily is the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Sword & Plough and a former U.S. Army Captain. During her military service, Emily graduated from Airborne School, served in 10th Special Forces Group, deployed to Afghanistan, and was one of the first 100 women to try out for the U.S. Army’s Ranger Training Assessment Course. Emily channeled her passion for social entrepreneurship, civil-military relations, veteran empowerment, and sustainable design to embody the core values of Sword & Plough. Emily earned her B.A. in International Studies from Middlebury College and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a White House Champion of Change and Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow.
Betsy Núñez, Co-Founder and Director of Brand & Business Development. Betsy is the Director of Brand & Business Development and Co-Founder at Sword & Plough. As a strategist with years of experience in operations and business development, Betsy brings a creative and strategic perspective to the team. Betsy manages Sword & Plough’s sourcing, production and key relationships with our five veteran-owned American manufacturers. Betsy is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow and a Bold Academy Fellow. Passionate and dedicated to driving positive social change, Betsy's goal is to ensure brands, individuals and noteworthy products are given a well-deserved and amplified voice. Betsy holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University.