Veterans on the front lines of small business

These veterans are using skills learned while in the military to launch their businesses.

Finds his softer side

veteran entrepreneurs native touch
  • Name: Joseph RiverWind, 39
  • Company: Native Touch, Andrews, North Carolina
  • Service: Army 1991-2000

After years of struggling with a genetic skin disorder, my wife, Laralyn RiverWind, looked for answers in the Native American remedies and plants her dad talked about when she was young. When she finally discovered a plant-based solution, she asked, "What else is out there and why are we turning to chemicals?"

The result is Native Touch, the skin and bodycare company we launched in 2008. We started in our basement and now have a 3,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Our most popular product is Rooting Bear Rub, which is made of unrefined shea butter along with essential oils of lavender, tea tree and rosemary.

My military experience taught me that despite long hours, hard work and little to no sleep, you accomplish the mission. In the Army, I worked with small groups of people, which is the model we like to use in our business. We're so tightly interwoven, we accomplish a lot. We also take military strategy and apply it to marketing: everything from knowing our target to knowing how to impact it, in a good way.

- Last updated August 30 2013 07:13 AM ET