Sword & Plough Luxury Handbags
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While attending Vermont’s Middlebury College, Núñez Cavness realized she was the only ROTC member on the campus.

“I would put my uniform on, and walk across campus, and receive a lot of confused or surprised looks,” Cavness told the Tennessee-based Leaf-Chronicle. “A lot of my classmates were curious about my service and why I wanted to serve … I definitely felt like a minority.”

But after attending a series of talks on social entrepreneurship at the college, inspiration struck, she banked on her good idea, and now she and her sister Betsy, 27, have launched a wildly successful start-up. The business, Sword & Plough, upcycles military surplus items into luxury handbags and backpacks — and hopes to bridge the military-civilian divide.

Now 24 and an “executive officer for a military intelligence company with 10th Special Forces Group, at Fort Carson, Colo.,” Núñez and her sister haven’t looked back.

“Having grown up in a military family, I knew that there was a lot of surplus that was wasted, or burned, or thrown away,” Núñez told the Leaf-Chronicle. “I knew immediately I could create something powerful with that. And I was on a college campus, where everyone has a bag, so I thought, ‘Why not turn these into fashionable bags?’ These would be appealing to people like my classmates.”

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