Sisters Betsy Núñez and Emily Núñez Cavness grew up in a military family, and Emily is now an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army. In 2013, they founded Sword & Plough, which uses surplus military materials to make tote bags, handbags, backpacks, and other accessories. The company supports various veteran-owned businesses and donates 10% of the profits to veteran-focused organizations. They have relied on the Internet, and Google products, from the very beginning to bring their business to life.
“Google products have really helped us communicate and grow in ways that otherwise would not have been achievable for a startup.”
Haik Kavookjian, Creative Director
With Emily deployed in Afghanistan, and the rest of the team working remotely from Boston, New York, and Denver, they used Google Apps for Work to stay connected and build their company. Emily recalls, “One of our most memorable magic moments happened on April 15, 2013, when Sword & Plough launched on Kickstarter. We had four of our team members and our parents crowded around the laptop to press Launch. And we did a Google Hangout with our creative director, Haik Kavookjian, so that we could all be together for the momentous occasion. Within two hours of pressing the Launch button, we hit our goal of $20,000! And by the end of the campaign, we raised over $312,000!” Products like Gmail, Google Sheets, and Google Hangouts continue to help this distributed team run the business. One time, a meeting held on a Google Hangout was interrupted when Emily’s base came under mortar attack. “She’s thousands of miles away in a remote, war-stricken region, and still able to communicate with her sister and co-founder to provide leadership for this business on the side,” Haik says. “It’s pretty incredible.” And as the orders continue to pour in via their website, they monitor their sales and site traffic using Google Analytics.
90% of Sword & Plough’s sales are made online.
Sword & Plough now has five employees and they subcontract their manufacturing and design to support veterans working in other companies. The sisters have also begun partnering with other brands, and may expand into physical stores around the country. “Google products have really helped us communicate and grow in ways that otherwise would not have been achievable for a startup, especially one started and being run so remotely,” Haik says.
For more information on the Sword & Plough case study, visit https://economicimpact.google.com.
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