Sword & Plough: A soldier and her sister have built something special

Eric Dehm
February 27, 2018 - 10:48 am

Courtesy Sword & Plough

It started at lunch. One question would send the Nunez sisters, born into an Army family and raised on military bases, on an adventure. One that would begin with a kickstarter campaign and eventually see them appearing in multiple media outlets from the Today show to Forbes Magazine. It all began with that one question. 

"She asked 'what do you think if I were to turn this ROTC tent into a tote bag?" Betsy Nunez recalls of that fateful meal with her sister Emily Nunez-Cavness about 5 years ago.

Today, they head up Sword & Plough, a succesful company creating a varied product line focusing mainly on bags, jewelery and other accesories. Back then, Emily was serving in the Army as an intelligence officer and Betsy was working in the sales and marketing field.

While she says there were difficulties with balancing the dual duties of starting her company and serving on active duty, mainly with finding time for the former, Emily says she believes that when it's possible, starting an entrepreneurial endeavor while serving can be  beneficial. In fact, she believes that her side job improved her performance in uniform.


"So many of the lessons that I was learning, especially about leadership, in the Army as a Lieutenant and then a Captain applied directly to leadership at a business," Emily, who left the Army in 2017, says. "And vice-versa as well, I experienced things at Sword & Plough that I could then apply to being an Executive Officer of a military intelligence company. So that was such a special and unique time in my life."

As they have built the company, and expanded their product line, Emily and Betsy say they've done whatever they can to find ways to partner with non-profits that help veterans. The sisters say that the veteran experience is at the core of why Sword & Plough exists, and that they dount the company would be around without the purpose given to them by the service of their family, friends and employees. That's a big part of why they've made an effort to bring as many veterans as possible onto the team. 

"We incorporate veterans into every single stage of our business model from the design stage to manufacturing, to fullfilment and even sales," Betsy says. "Since launching on Kickstarter in 2013 we've now helped support through our own team and our veteran-owned manufacturing partners, over 75 veteran jobs."

Five years in, Sword & Plough's co-founders say that while they have already carved out a space for themselves in the marketplace, they're just getting started. Their ultimate goal is to become not only a leading American heritage brand, but also a leader in the field of social entrepreneurship to give more back to the veteran community and society in general.

You can hear the full interview with Emily Nunez Cavness and Betsy Nunez from ConnectingVets.com's Morning Briefing below. Click play to stream now, or click the share button and select "download" from the options.