Saluting Marketing Veterans

Saluting Marketing Veterans

Imagine a company that takes surplus goods like military tents and parachutes, employs veterans and sells stylized handbags, tote bags, travel bags, messenger bags, duffels and gives back 10% of their profits to this community. Let’s salute Sword & Plough and the two sisters behind their army of veterans.

Stand Up and Salute Sword & Plough

In 2012, through a Kickstarter campaign, two sisters, Emily and Betsy Nunez tested an idea. What if they could help a community they cared deeply about, employed some of them and could give back a share of the profits? Having grown up in a military family, they witnessed many of the struggles of veterans.

Emily began to think ‘What in my life is often discarded and could be turned into something beautiful with a purposeful mission?” 

Sword & Plough is a socially conscious brand that works with veterans to create repurposed goods. The company recycles military surplus, incorporates that fabric into stylish bag designs and donates 10% of profits back to veteran organizations.

The sisters imagined how they could take surplus military materials and goods, hire veterans to reimagine them into new products. When the lightbulb went off, they took the leap.

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.

Five Marketing Insights from Emily and Betsy’s Journey

  1. They were inspired to serve a community. The products and business model followed their motivation.
  2. They borrowed from other businesses like Tom’s to build a socially conscious benefit into what they were doing so they give back a percentage of revenue to help veterans.
  3. They created a shareable story because they help bridge conversations between military veterans and civilians. This shared story and connection is critical to being talked about in person, in the media and online.
  4. They are environmentally focused by taking existing materials and repurposing the materials into second life opportunities. 35,000 pounds of military surplus has been kept out of landfills.
  5. Empowering the community. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 453,000 unemployed veterans. Emily and Betsy have hired 65 veterans to work in their business and they are just getting started.

When a business starts with a community in mind, marketing to those who care about them is the same as serving them. What can you do to share your empathy for your tribe and provide value, benefits, and opportunity?

I salute you, Sword & Plough.

Is there an idea you have been considering but don’t know how to put it into action? I can help. Email me at or text or call at 919 720 0995. Let’s grow your business idea together.

Photo credit: Sword & Plough, all rights reserved.




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