I recently came across an amazing American firm that I felt compelled to tell you about. Sword & Plough is the brain child of two American sisters, Betsy and Emily. Born into a military family, Betsy and Emily grew up at West Point. Emily attended Middlebury College, where she was the only ROTC cadet on a campus of 2,450; Emily’s ROTC meetings were notoriously short. After her sophomore year at college, Emily attended the U.S. Army Airborne School and eventually served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
During her time in the Army, Emily began to become aware of the plight of U.S. military personnel upon entering the civilian job market after they had left military service. An idea began to form in Emily’s mind, in between figuring out the proper placement of anti-personnel mines and the ins and outs of driving a tank. What if my sis and I could create a business that would provide middle class jobs for our comrades leaving the service who would create great stylish bags using military surplus fabric? Unlike so many of us who have great ideas but lack the initiative to bring our dreams to fruition, Emily and Betsy actually created a viable business that is providing great jobs for some of our veterans.
The ladies launched Sword & Plough in 2013, but given their service to our country, let’s just say early business meetings were a bit of a challenge. According to the Sword & Plough website, “When Emily deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, Sword & Plough had just launched on Kickstarter. We built our business even while our CEO was deployed in a war zone – often cutting our Skype conference calls short due to incoming mortar fire or other military emergencies. The founding team was separated by eight time zones, so conference calls always happened during odd hours of the day (and night).”
Sword & Plough is all about providing gainful employment for their brothers and sisters in arms. According to Emily and Betsy, “By incorporating veterans into every stage of the business (as designers, managers, sewers, quality control experts and even models), the company could empower veteran employment. And through its branding and outreach, Sword & Plough could help bridge the civil-military divide. The bags could be used as conversation pieces and the company could become a platform to bring public awareness to veteran issues.”
Well Emily and Betsy’s mission seems to be working. I urge you to check out the Sword & Plough website to snag a great bag, see all the recognition the firm is getting and learn about all the good they are doing. I never cease to be amazed at the hard work Americans like Emily and Betsy will exert to build a business that makes great products, but also creates great jobs for members of our extended American family. If I had been in the military, I would end this post with some typical military phrase. But sadly I wasn’t, so I will end with the only military phrase I know which I got from watching MASH: That is all!