Talk about body armor. These 2 unlikely men create detailed wearable art and come up with catchy name for their line, Bullets2Bandages.
Did you ever think while in the military that one day you’d own a fashion jewelry business?
No. I was a weapons and systems engineer in the Naval Academy and Cole had a background in mathematics. So, in a way, our background is the antithesis of fashion.
As Naval Explosive Ordinance Disposal officers — more commonly referred to as bomb technicians — Erik Spalding and Cole Evans were prepared to enter into high-risk situations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. Now as veterans transitioning back into civilian life in the United States, they are taking on a different type of risk: In June, they started Bullets2Bandages, a fashion jewelry business that donates 15 percent of profits to veterans’ nonprofits, despite having no experience in fashion or entrepreneurship and no funding.
“When we were getting out of military service, we both knew we weren’t interested in taking what’s considered the traditional path for a former Naval officer, which is to get an MBA and go to work in corporate America,” Spalding says.
Instead, Spalding and Evans, who met while at the Naval Academy, were eager to start their own business. They began by developing software apps before a random event inspired them to switch gears and start making jewelry out of bullets. Since then, their business has grown so quickly, they decided to launch a streetwear line of T-shirts and caps this Veterans Day. As Spalding sees it, the San Diego-based startup has changed their lives and the lives of U.S. veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
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