July 31, 2023: “It’s arguably one of the most recognizable local businesses in the state of Montana, but drive too quickly down Main Street in Sulphur Springs and you just might miss the sign – the yellow rectangle with the funky font and the five red insects crawling along the bottom border.”
November 23, 2022: “In a place like White Sulphur there’s women doing work all of the work all of the time right next to the man. There’s not a lot of ranch chores or projects that are gender specific. Everyone pitches in and gets the job done.”
May 13, 2022: The Great Falls Development Authority hosted the 2022 Fire Within awards on May 19. The annual awards honor women in business with the Inspire Awards going to female business owners who have five or more successful years in business and have mentored at least one other entrepreneur. Sarah Calhoun was honored to receive a 2022 Inspire Award!
Montana Secretary of State: Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen visits White Sulphur Springs businesses, election officials, and students
May 1, 2022: “Sarah Calhoun and Red Ants Pants are a true Montana success story and an example of how a dream can become a reality,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “Along with the charming clothing line and the famous music festival, Calhoun’s work to create opportunities for women and efforts to bring revenue to the area are incredible.”
March 7, 2022: Raised on a farm in rural Connecticut, Calhoun was inspired to move to Montana by Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky. From her home in the small town of White Sulphur Springs, she has become an inspiration to entrepreneurs nationwide and is known for her dedication to supporting rural communities.
November 30, 2021: “What We Love: While a lot of attention in the social impact movement goes to urban-based entrepreneurs, Sarah Calhoun makes her mark through rural empowerment with a focus on women.”
November 30, 2021: The goal, according to Torgerson, isn’t merely to tell stories, it’s to discuss ideas and hopefully allow rural communities to learn from each other and work collaboratively towards solutions to place-based issues. Guests for season two include Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants the first company dedicated to making workwear for women.
September 30, 2021: Best known for her celebrated achievements as the entrepreneur and founder behind women’s workwear brand, Red Ants Pants, Calhoun is also a dreamer, a doer and a convener. As the Executive Director of the Red Ants Pants Foundation, she organizes a homegrown music festival that brings thousands of people together each year to swing dance in a cow pasture, raise their koozies toward the Big Sky and celebrate rural Montana. The festival also helps fund a Girls Leadership Program, timber skills workshops and community grants that support among other things, family farms and ranches. I spoke to Sarah a month before Red Ants Pants Music Festival’s 10th anniversary this July.
June 30, 2021: In this bonus-content episode, business owner Sarah Calhoun describes unexplained experiences in her historic property. Could it be that some of Red Ants Pants biggest supporters are more than 100 years old? Things that go bump in the night, free-floating apparitions, and ethereal entities apparently practicing social distancing.
June 30, 2021: On this episode, we’ll talk to social entrepreneur Sarah Calhoun, founder of the Red Ants Pants clothing brand, which creates rugged clothing for working women. But can starting a women’s workwear revolution simultaneously revitalize rural America?
May 7, 2021: During Small Business Appreciation Week, Red Ants Pants again partnered up with The Base Camp to bring attention to the importance of supporting local businesses, the backbone of our communities.
May 3, 2021: White Sulphur Springs was a thriving community until the early 80s, when the railroad left and a sawmill that employed several hundred people shut down. The county still has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the state, but thanks to one enterprising woman, it has also become a popular tourist destination, as well as the site for one of Montana’s most popular annual events, The Red Ants Pants music festival. My guests this month are the founder of Red Ants Pants, Sarah Calhoun, and Barry and Chris Hedrich, the owners of 2 Bassett Brewery, which opened right on Main Street in White Sulphur five years ago.
March 8, 2021: “There’s not a good ‘ol girls club for women in business like there is for men. So, anything we can do as female businesses to really turn around and help anyone up behind us is essential.” – Sarah Calhoun, founder & owner of Red Ants Pants
January 31, 2021: Red Ants Pants’ GSD “Get Stuff Done” Pants are a great canvas summer work pants for women. They are still very durable, but made with a lightweight canvas fabric that also has a bit of stretch to it.
December 9, 2020: The Red Ants Pants online shop includes essentials like work shirts, shorts, pants, hoodies, and aprons. This is a brand that represents all that is right with American workwear and is a great option for women who need dependable clothing.
Great Falls Tribune: Red Ants Pants Represents Montana in National Small Business Holiday Gift Guide
November 28, 2020: “I think what we’re seeing, and I hope this continues, is that our nation understands the importance of U.S. manufacturing and being able to sew things right here on our home soil to supply, not just PPE, but our general apparel needs in demand,” said Calhoun. “I think that shift is hopefully gaining some traction.”
October 13, 2020: These pants come in both straight and curvy cuts (for more hourglass and pear-shaped people). They’ll Skype with you to get your size and cut correct, and they offer short, medium, long, and extra-long inseams. Red Ants Pants is a women-owned company with ethical labor practices, and the pants will last forever and mold to your body.
September 24, 2020: Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants Company and Red Ants Pants Festival, will present “The Art of Rural Entrepreneurship” during a livestream Gallery Conversation presented by the YAM on Oct. 1. Calhoun is one of four panelists in the conversation.
September 23, 2020: The Montana Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that six Made in Montana program members will produce 25,000 masks as part of the state’s “Montana Aware” initiative to promote safe and responsible fall travel.
September 13, 2020: “I think the thing about Montana that gets me,” Calhoun said, “is that there’s so much possibility to dream big.” >>video<<
September/October 2020: Page 85 – “There’s so much potential for entrepreneurship in small towns and rural areas,” Sarah says. “The quality of living is high and the cost of living is low. Small towns often have an eager, hardworking workforce, historic Main Street buildings that can house brick and mortar storefronts and even high-speed internet. The Big Sky allows us to dream even bigger!”
July 15, 2020: Red Ants Pants manufacturing face masks and level 1 and 2 surgical gowns.
May 23, 2020: The Red Ants Pants USA Original Women’s Work Pants gives women a tough, durable work pant that is offered in two different types of cuts: curvy and straight.
May 21, 2020: Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs delivered their first shipment of medical gowns this week to their local critical access hospital, Mountainview Medical Center.
Great Falls Tribune: ‘Like getting a blanket from grandma:’ Red Ants Pants supplies masks, gowns statewide
May 20, 2020: In just two months, Red Ants Pants manufactured and sold about 1,500 gowns and 3,000 reusable cloth masks to hospitals, dental offices, highway patrol units and other businesses statewide.
Calhoun said manufacturing PPE in Montana is efficient and she is able to personally deliver some orders. “It’s classic Montana – taking care of your neighbors and communities,” she said.
Red Ants Pants sold 50 gowns and a few hundred cloth masks to Mountainview Medical Center in White Sulphur Springs.
Rob Brandt, CEO of the medical clinic, said the local PPE products are a source of pride for patients and staff.
April 23, 2020: Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs is known for the women’s workwear. But right now the company’s “Made in the USA” approach is especially important, as they pivot to providing personal protective equipment, or PPE.
Billings Gazette: With appointments down, Billings hospital staff assemble masks and gowns in production line
April 23, 2020: Isolation gowns are also in short supply for many hospitals, which are used for COVID-19 patients when they enter treatment. Bozeman-based Simms Fishing and Red Ants Pants out of White Sulphur Springs began making washable and reusable gowns for hospital use. Billings Clinic Foundation dollars are also paying for the expense in producing the gowns, Duncan said. Isolation gowns can also be mass produced at Billings Clinic using special equipment. About 1,000 gowns have been made on-site, and 250 are produced daily. Billings Clinic also has 1,700 of the reusable gowns made by Simms Fishing and Red Ants Pants in production.
February 23, 2020: Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants, based in White Sulphur Springs, was just nominated for a national business award celebrating entrepreneurs in the outdoor industry. The Made-in-America women’s workwear company is the only Montana business selected for an official contender for the 2020 Wright Award.
The Wright Awards showcase independent entrepreneurs who contribute to their communities and inspire outdoor stewardship.
November 21, 2019: Holiday collaboration of two small business owners! Local dollars spent stay local.
November 19, 2019: “As we’re heading into the holiday season for retail we decided to collaborate with some other small business owner friends,” said Sarah Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants. “It adds a whole ‘nother avenue of foot traffic that obviously we don’t have in really rural Montana.”
Calhoun said she has been approached by large digital retailers to carry Red Ants Pants, but chose to support other small businesses this holiday season instead.
“We’d rather keep things in the small business realm where we can support communities,” said Calhoun.
November 16, 2019: In the world of business, too often the focus is on who is up and who is down. This competition seems to reach a fever pitch around the holidays as stores try to one-up each other with door buster deals. True enough, all businesses need to compete in order to better serve their customers. However, there’s a story of small business collaboration that is also needed to keep our economy diverse and strong.
October 21, 2019: Before we can browse for too long, the shop dog, Nellie, bursts out of the door at the back of the shop and enthusiastically greets us all. Sarah follows, tall, strong, and smiling in a way that seems to welcome you to be yourself. After introductions, she begins to tell us her story. In an ideal world, clothing and equipment would be made for bodies, not genders. Sarah’s line of clothing exemplifies this revolution in the outdoor clothing industry. Although still marketed as “women’s pants,” the way Sarah’s pants are sized is inclusive to all genders. When my classmate, Nick, asked if men ever bought Red Ants Pants, Sarah explained how she’d been wearing her dad’s old pants before Red Ants Pants and had managed to make them work, so she didn’t see why men couldn’t wear them too. Nick proceeded to purchase a pair.
September 26, 2019: Sarah Calhoun, founder of the Red Ant Pants Music Festival, will give the keynote address at Montana’s Best. She’ll discuss the intersection of nonprofit leadership and philanthropy as it relates to Montana’s vitality and aspirations. Calhoun was named the 2012 National Women in Business Champion for the Small Business Administration, the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of Montana, and in 2018 Calhoun was inducted into the Montana Business Hall of Fame.
September 3, 2019: Podcast “Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will” – I was intrigued about her background and motivation after a friend shared her website with me, a page in the Red Ants Pants Foundation about a girl’s leadership program. We talked about why she started this program for young women heading into their junior year of high school in rural Montana. And I heard some great stories about starting a business with almost zero preparation.
August 27, 2019: There’s a large focus on revitalizing small towns in Montana, he said. For example, Sarah Calhoun who founded Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs helped bring commerce into Meagher County. Local people with creative ideas can breathe life back into small communities. “There are so many examples of that around the state where one or two people or a small group of people have revitalized the community,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of focus on that in the smaller towns and recognizing they have to come up with creative ways of keeping the town alive or they’re going to lose it.”
July 22, 2019: Red Ants Pants is not only a workwear provider for women, but it’s also a nonprofit “dedicated to women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities.”
March 14, 2019: Red Ants Pants is both a woman-founded workwear brand and a nonprofit foundation supporting women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities.
March 8, 2019: And yet I feel a fierce defensiveness for this place. Particularly since the 2016 election, I hear the national media — or even my friends back in Portland — dismiss my rural colleagues, family and neighbors as out of touch, hateful, fearful of immigrants, and doomed to a life of boredom and poverty. But they don’t know my friend Sarah Calhoun, who started a women’s clothing company and a music festival near White Sulphur Springs, Mont.
January 2019: Waxed Canvas Work Apron – Made in Montana, this strong, stylish apron has plenty of pockets to hold all the tools of your trade. Plus, the company’s foundation provides grants to groups whose work aligns with its mission: to develop and expand leadership roles for women, and to enrich and support
rural communities and working family farms and ranches.
December 21, 2018: I sat down to write a piece about shopping local and using our powerful dollars wisely this holiday season, for they truly do count. And as much as I believe in supporting our small businesses, the thing that brings me to tears is this recipe box. It used to be my grandfather’s Guernsey cow record box, back on the dairy farm in Connecticut. I found an old recipe clipped from our hometown newspaper, faded to yellow. It was for my grandmother’s holiday sweet rolls, which had been so popular that it made it into the paper.
December 17, 2018: I have been thinking a lot about whose shoulders we have stood upon to get where we are today. I so wish I could sit down at their old farm table by the wood stove and get some advice and perspective about how we move forward in this world. I imagine Polly and Frank would say keep working hard. Keep taking care of the land. Keep an open place at the table for anyone who needs it. Keep loving a Republican. Keep loving a Democrat. Keep baking sweet rolls and share them with everyone you know. Oh, and spend your hard-earned dollars wisely.
October 12, 2018: I hope there is a woman like the Red Ants Pants owner, who thinks this could turn into something, especially now that our sheep industry is coming into its own?
October 1, 2018: The need was clear, says Red Ants Pants founder Sarah Calhoun, a former trail-crew worker and Outward Bound instructor. To get women into her made-in-the-USA britches, Calhoun traveled the country with an Airstream trailer, organizing Tupperware-style parties with pants and beer.
September 26, 2018: Sarah’s business ventures are just the tip of the iceberg—she also started the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, which attracts world-class musicians like Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams.
August 28, 2018: The 2018 inductees are Sarah Calhoun, Bill Ballard, and Bob and Penni Nance.
June 28, 2018: Red Ants Pants Original Work Pants – The top reasons these are a cult favorite among female ranchers: supple 12-ounce canvas, ample pockets, and fits for narrow and wide hips in sizes from 0 to 22.
June 26, 2018: Whether it is the rancher who organizes a team roping to raise money for his neighbor who has cancer, or the bake sale that raises enough money for the widow who needs help with funeral expenses, we as neighbors help each other out. We need each other. And it makes us a lot stronger together.
So, a big thank-you to the community of Jordan for redefining “neighbor” for us. And may we continue “neighboring” in all of our communities, large or small.
Flathead Beacon: Lessons from the Road – What I learned about business and people from traveling the country with Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants
June 15, 2018: Recently I was asked how I got started in the craft brewing business. I replied: pants. Specifically: Red Ants Pants. Likely you’ve heard of this Montana business that started with a very simple but important mission: make work pants for women that fit women’s bodies, function for hard work, and look good, too. Sarah Calhoun started the company in 2006 in the small ranching town of White Sulphur Springs, and I met her a few years later at one of her pants parties.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle: BZN International Film Festival spotlights films on Montana, women and environment
June 6, 2018: “Red Ants Pants,” a short documentary on the Montana woman who started the clothing company and music festival. Saturday, 10:15 a.m., Hager Auditorium.
June 1, 2018: Festival-goers are also invited to participate in a Seed & Spark pitching seminar, and explore the nuances of filming in Montana. Montana films in the festival include “Bella Vista,” “Consexual,” “Montana Vets, Montana Waters,” “Willow Creek Road,” “Love Stuck,” “Red Ants Pants,” “We the Conquerers,” and “Tiny Homes: A Housing First Solution?”
March 4, 2018: Women are wrangling cattle, driving tractors and managing agricultural businesses – and now several agencies in Louisiana are helping them network to grow their ventures.
December 7, 2017: Keeping our manufacturing on US soil not only creates jobs and strengthens our business relationships and local economies, but it does something else that may be even more important. It helps build pride. Pride in our work and in our craftsmanship, pride in our working neighborhoods, and pride in ourselves.
December 2, 2017: Some days I wonder if I were truly cut out for capitalism, as I don’t like pushing products. But when we can weave values into our products, and pride into our communities, then heck yeah, I’m a capitalist.
August 23, 2017: The report was officially released Tuesday to a packed conference room at a motel in Columbia Falls that kicked off the Last Best Outdoors Fest celebration co-hosted by the Business for Montana’s Outdoor and the Montana Brewers Association. The event featured several speakers, including U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, famed climber Conrad Anker, and Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants.
August 7, 2017: Last week, I had the privilege of attending the joint National Extension Community Development Professionals and Community Development Society conference in beautiful Big Sky, Montana. One of my favorite sessions was the plenary featuring Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants, a company that produces outdoor work pants for women. The session got me thinking about how entrepreneurs, especially women, have the power to positively affect a rural community.
Montana Living: Making a Better Women’s Pants, Rugged and durable women’s clothing from a Montana woman
May 23, 2017: And it is her passion for making a pair of work pants that actually fit a women’s body that keeps this company’s products flying off the shelf. It hasn’t been all easy. Yet she had the self confidence to move her business forward. With a lot of hard work you should get there,” Calhoun says. “And about those mistakes you’ll make … just don’t forget to learn from them.”
Helena IR: “Always remember to put on your cape”: Helena College graduates more than 200 “superheroes”
May 13, 2017: Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants, served as the featured speaker at the event. She has nearly two decades of leadership experience in both the nonprofit and small business sectors, working in the outdoor education industry before starting her work wear for women company in 2006.
Calhoun wrapped up her advice under the theme of pickup trucks.
“I have five points to make about trucks and your future,” she told the graduates.
The first is work. “Trucks are designed for work and so are you,” she said. “Now the real work begins.”
The second is drive. The key is to keep moving even through roadblocks of deep snow and mud. These challenges are part of the journey. This takes patience and problem solving, she said. “Now is your time to drive forward,” Calhoun said.
The third is bed. Allow time for rest. She said people should perform routine maintenance on themselves just as they do to their rigs.
The fourth aspect is pride. Graduates should revel in their work the same as they revere their trucks. Be the best firefighter, nurse or welder you can be, she said. “Always be proud of your work,” Calhoun said. “You are the foundation of this nation, truly.”
Last, and perhaps the most enjoyable, is tailgate. The tailgate is known as the location to party but it can also be used as place to reflect on the road traveled. “Don’t forget to look back,” she added.
April 17, 2017: Finding a gap in the apparel industry, Sarah Calhoun created Red Ants Pants—specialty workwear for hard-core women. She uses technology to help her live the life she wants under big skies in rural Montana.
February 17, 2017: Sarah Calhoun, founder of the Red Ants Pants company, makes durable work gear specifically designed for women’s bodies. Interview with Ali Velshi.
January 18, 2017: In 2006 Sarah Calhoun moved to the 900 person town of White Sulphur Springs to start an apparel company. Workwear for women was a product that previously didn’t exist until Sarah came along and recognized the need. The company’s name came naturally. In colonies of red ants, “women do all the work.” As excitement and momentum gathered around the company so did the scope of it’s goals. The three day Red Ants Pants Music Festival hosts 16,000 people annually, with the proceeds going to the Red Ants Pants Foundation. The Foundation gives out grants to women’s leadership, working family farms/ranches and rural communities, all of which parallel the mission of Red Ants Pants.
The Seattle Times: Women who wrangle and weld need rugged clothing that works; entrepreneurs step up
October 22, 2016: In 2004, she shared a table at a local coffee shop with Richard Siberell, a veteran outdoor-gear designer. He encouraged her with advice and contacts. Later, he became her mentor and a board member. “He said, ‘Sarah, you’re on to something big here; you need to move on this now,’ ” Calhoun recalled.
October 20, 2016: Ten years ago, Sarah Calhoun became a 21st century pioneer, staking a claim in a town far from her Connecticut roots: White Sulphur Springs, Montana, population 939, located in what was then the poorest county in the nation. The logging industry had dried up in the mountain town, but Calhoun saw potential. So she launched Red Ants Pants, manufacturing work wear for women. She started an online business and opened a brick and mortar store, and then a music festival with big-name talent like Lyle Lovett and Wynonna Judd.
October 19, 2016: Sarah Calhoun had worked years in physically demanding jobs, including five years in the field for the outdoor education nonprofit organization Outward Bound. She once resorted to duct-taping the crotch of her men’s work pants when the seams came apart. After spending six months at a company in Bozeman, Mont., sewing backpacks to learn about production, she began making a single pants style she designed herself. She and her roommate at the time were the models. Then she started her women’s workwear company, Red Ants Pants, in 2006, in White Sulphur Springs, Mont.
October 13, 2016: The ribbon cutting will be followed with a Red Ants Pants 10-year celebration.
October 5, 2016: “These pants are meaning something to our customers,” she said. “There’s women wearing these pants going into surgery because they feel stronger and braver, and that’s kind of amazing to me that a product can instill such emotional power.” Calhoun celebrates a decade in business this month, and the milestone provides her with a chance to look back on the past, look forward to the future – and throw a party in the present.
June 26, 2016: In a state like Montana, known around the world for our work ethic and hospitality, building up people and building relationships is the undisputed strength of our businesses. That’s why, in 2014, when we were asked by Gov. Steve Bullock to provide our perspective as small business owners on his Main Street Montana Project, we were excited to help. Between the two of us, we’ve been in the Montana business community for five decades. We both feel that the communities where we live and do business are our stakeholders as much as our customers who work hard and play hard outdoors. During the time we’ve both been in business, we’ve seen the global economy change and our local downtowns transform. In the face of these big transitions, we’ve always found it helpful to keep the lines of communication open with our neighbors, our peers, our customers and our elected leaders.
June 24, 2016: “Our customers have been braving the road,” said Laida Talcott, shop manager of the Red Ants Pants store on Main Street, which specializes in work wear for women. “We just have to think about the end result. This will be awesome for us.”
Summer 2016: Her company very much evokes the resourcefulness so ubiquitous in This House of Sky: cobble together what assets are available, and make as good a go of if as you can, for as long as you can.
April 12, 2016: For the past decade, Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs has proven that durable and strong workwear comes in every size and shape.
March 27, 2016: Much as Levi Strauss developed the first rugged blue jeans for gold miners back in 1873, Calhoun recognized a need for sturdy work wear that actually fit a woman laboring away on farms and ranches, in forestry and landscaping jobs, fighting wildfires, and so much more.
March 7, 2016: So proud of our new neighbors! The Hedrichs opened the tap room about a week ago, but it’s already cultivated what Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants next door called a Cheers “everybody-knows-your-name” atmosphere.
January 14, 2016: “It’s exciting to see ideas from small business owners being implemented to make starting a business as easy as possible,” said Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs. She described it as a user-friendly platform that walks people through business permitting and offers access to business planning and financing services. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development led the development of the Business Navigator under the directive of the Governor’s Main Street Montana Project to cut red tape for small businesses and increase government efficiency.
November 27, 2015: Whether you choose to “Shop Small” on Saturday, Nov. 28, or whether you still need to fill your elk tag, just know that small business owners everywhere are grateful for your year-round encouragement and the fellowship that comes with our ability to keep jobs in Montana and give back to the communities. Beyond Small Business Saturday — anytime you shop locally, you are part of an awesome ripple effect that strengthens the economy from the ground up. And for that, we thank you.
November 23, 2015: From my experience as a rural small-business owner, I believe that trust comes from the fact that people actually know the small-business owners in their communities personally. Especially in rural America, small-business owners have a kind of fellowship that transcends the bottom line. We are in this together. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Summer 2015: In 2011, the governor of Montana nominated Sarah as the state’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and she served as a U.S. Delegate to the APEC Women in Business Summit hosted by Hillary Clinton. These events preceded her first visit to the White House with a personal invitation from President Obama to attend a forum on jobs and economic development. In 2012, she was recognized as a National Women in Business Champion by the Small Business Administration.
More recently, Sarah received her second invitation from the White House to attend the Small Business Leadership Summit this May. She has also given two TED Talks, keynote speeches from east to west, and has had glowing features written about her in magazines of all sorts. This is a woman in pants making some waves.
June 30, 2015: Red Ants Pants, the company that makes women’s work pants and whose foundation organizes the annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival, has a new statewide marketing campaign starring, you guessed it, a red ant.
May 18, 2015: Sarah Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, spent the day at the White House last week for a national small business summit hosted by the nonpartisan Small Business Majority.
As the only Montana business owner in attendance, Calhoun penned a guest column inviting other Montana business owners to share their ideas with her prior to the trip. From infrastructure to workforce training, she received dozens of emails and calls from fellow Montana businesses.
“This has been an honor and a terrific platform to emphasize Montana’s unique opportunities at the national level,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun spent May 12 at the National Press Club participating in panel discussions including topics such as women’s entrepreneurship, economic development and access to capital. Calhoun participated in additional small business summit discussions at the White House, where she pressed policymakers on leveling the playing field to encourage manufacturing in the U.S.
May 7, 2015: Next week, I’ll be attending the Small Business Majority’s Small Business Leadership Summit in our nation’s capital. The Summit brings together small business owners from across the country to speak directly to policymakers, issue experts and members of the administration to voice the needs of real small business owners. Red Ants Pants is the only small business representing Montana and one of only 100 businesses selected nationwide to participate. This is an incredible platform to emphasize Montana’s unique opportunities at the national level.
May 3, 2015: I started Red Ants Pants out of necessity. I had no interest in being in business, I just needed work pants that fit. It is a huge honor that this entrepreneurial adventure is taking me to the White House for a second time, but I need your help.
April 30, 2015: Next week, I’ll be attending the Small Business Majority’s Small Business Leadership Summit in our nation’s capital. The summit brings together small-business owners from across the country to speak directly to policymakers, issue experts and members of the administration to voice the needs of real small-business owners.
April 5, 2015: Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants in Doig’s hometown of White Sulphur Springs, was inspired to move to White Sulphur because of Doig’s memoir, “This House of Sky.”
The Connecticut native was living in Bozeman when she read the book and because of the way it celebrated rural places and the characters that inhabit them, Calhoun packed her bags and headed to Meagher County. Her business manufactures work clothing for women.
“Two winters ago, he sent me this beautiful handwritten letter, saying he was so glad I found his hometown and made it perk,” Calhoun said.
When Doig was in Bozeman last fall to promote his latest book, “Sweet Thunder,” he invited Calhoun to meet him and his wife Carol at a downtown book store.
“It was joyful. We couldn’t stop giggling with all the connections we shared with friends in Meagher County,” Calhoun said. “He was very gleeful.”
March 5, 2015: The event kicks off on March 20 at 7 p.m. in UM’s Urey Underground Lecture Hall with a series of high-energy presentations and an official Ignite event. Presenters include keynotes by Terry Hill, executive director of Rural Health Innovations, and senior adviser to the National Rural Health Resource Center, and Sarah Calhoun, rural community leader and entrepreneur, and founder of Red Ants Pants.
Spring 2015: It was almost dusk and a golden light was sweeping across the stage in front of me when I caught a glimpse of Sarah Calhoun scurrying out of her vintage Airstream. She moved like the kind of woman who had places to be, and indeed, Calhoun was in high demand this particular weekend. I had come to the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana hoping to meet up with this dynamo, but it was clear that producing and directing and event that attracted roughly 11,000 festival-goers was keeping her more than busy.
February 23, 2015: The summit at the Baxter Hotel – attended by more than 100 businesspeople from around the state – was organized by Business for Montana’s Outdoors and featured Headwaters’ research, panel discussions, and keynote addresses from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Red Ants Pants CEO Sarah Calhoun.
“Businesses that create jobs are drawn to Montana’s public lands because there’s so much to offer among them – it’s one of our top competitive advantages,” Calhoun said in the opening address. “Montana’s economy is seeing a remarkable transition thanks to the popularity of our public lands, and the countless jobs that rely on our outdoor traditions.”
February 14, 2015: At Red Ants Pants, we understand how important public lands are to Montana’s businesses. Our idyllic location is one of the secrets of our success. It’s certainly a competitive advantage. We know we have a responsibility to protect access to the land and water that has done so much for this business.
February 6, 2015: In the opening keynote, Red Ants Pants founder Sarah Calhoun told the story about starting her company and how Montana’s wilderness inspired her into a successful business.
“We are driven by this place, these wild lands,” Calhoun said. “We need to embrace that.”
September 23, 2014: After years of doing hard labor in ill-fitting pants that fell down and were all around un-flattering, Red Ants Pants proprietor Sarah Calhoun decided to make a change: There were no work pants specifically for women available on the market, so she was going to start a company and do it herself.
August 1, 2014: Last summer, a team of graduate students from Harvard University rolled into White Sulphur Springs to lend a hand to one of the central Montana town’s best known businesses, Red Ants Pants.
Mike Baker, Casey Gerald, Amaris Singer and Hiham Alaoui were the founding members of MBAs Across America. The organization was formed as an opportunity for second-year MBA students to obtain real-world experience working with business owners. Instead of putting in long hours in a corporate cubicle, a typical assignment for many summer interns, these students launched a mission to assist small-business owners while also experiencing a slice of Main Street America.
Red Ants Pants, a manufacturer of rugged, American-made work pants designed specifically for women, is a made-in-Montana success story whose products have achieved a cult following.
Sarah Calhoun, the founder of Red Ants Pants, says the company was spawned from necessity. While doing trail work and other kinds of physical labor, Calhoun could never find work pants that fit the female figure, so she developed her own rugged pants geared toward working women.
Proceeds from the annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival provide grants for women’s leadership projects, working family farms and ranches and rural communities. Calhoun formed the Red Ants Pants Foundation in 2011.
July 7, 2014: Gov. Steve Bullock, in conjunction with the co-chairs of his Main Street Montana Project, Bill Johnstone and Larry Simkins, has appointed a number of Montana business leaders to be co-chairs of Key Industry Networks to implement the business plan.
Small business/downtown: Sara Calhoun, White Sulphur Springs, owner of Red Ants Pants, which makes work pants for women and Scott Brown, Billings, owner of the Base Camp outdoor stores in Helena and Billings.
March 23, 2014: Sarah Calhoun, founder and owner of Red Ants Pants, was appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock to the State Workforce Investment Board.
March 22, 2014: Sarah Calhoun, a BMFO member and owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, attended Saturday’s tour at Mystery Ranch. Red Ants Pants makes work pants for women and puts on an annual summer music festival.
“(Public lands are) obviously a big asset for both industry and quality of life out here,” she said. “It kind of defines who we are as Montanans and the freedom that comes along with it.”
Billings Gazette: Business digest- Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana CattleWomen Annual Convention
November 10, 2013: Speakers will include Sarah Calhoun, owner and founder of Red Ants Pants, and Barbara Jackson, American National CattleWomen president. The Zoetis Cattlemen’s Colleges will be held Dec. 12-13 featuring Derrell Peel; Charles Breedlove, professor of agribusiness; Larry Gran and Dan Ellis, both with Zoetis Animal Health, and Rich Linhart, managing veterinarian with Zoetis Animal Health. The show, which is open to the public Dec. 12-13, will feature more than 100 companies providing all types of products, services and the latest technology to the cattle industry.
August 1, 2013: But this summer four second-year Harvard MBA students have given a new twist to the typical summer internship. As part of an eight-week, cross-country journey, they landed in White Sulphur Springs in late July where they met up with Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants.
June 30, 2013: The county will come out and water down the road during the weekend to keep the dust down for the festivalgoers, said Sarah Calhoun, owner and founder of Red Ants Pants, a clothing company that makes work wear for women. The weather should stay nice, warm, with few clouds and the chance of weekend thunderstorms decreasing as Friday nears, another in the group of six added, before they started to discuss the festival’s vendor layout.
February 10, 2013: There is no blueprint for success, Sarah Calhoun told a group of high school girls on Saturday.
“None of us really know what we’re doing,” the Red Ants Pants founder told the crowd.
But there are some things these girls can do to become successful. Be self reliant, but also don’t be afraid of asking for help. Step outside your comfort zone and gain a little perspective. Find the right balance.
Be true and be brave.
That was the message Calhoun delivered as part of her keynote presentation at the annual Girls for a Change conference, hosted by Thrive.
More than 150 high school girls from 32 communities across the state gathered at the Strand Union Building on the Montana State University campus for a day of workshops aimed at empowering the young girls.
January 18, 2013: Calhoun, the owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, knows all about pants. Business, however, she admitted she didn’t know much about when she first started her company in an old saddle shop in 2006.
That would be hard to guess today with Calhoun’s list of business-related awards and recognitions though. She has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a 2012 National Women in Business Champion, the 2012 Woman in Business Champion for the Montana SBA and she was featured on the Whitehouse website and selected as one of two businesses from each state to attend a Forum on Jobs and Economic Development in November 2011. Calhoun was the featured speaker at the Leadership Development luncheon in West Yellowstone last Saturday.
January 13, 2013: Don’t miss the unique opportunity in West Yellowstone to hear Sarah Calhoun, award winning Montana business woman and founder of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, share her inspiring and educational views about building a successful small business in rural Montana, at a leadership development luncheon presentation. Calhoun will be the featured speaker at a luncheon and outdoor fashion show on Saturday, Jan.12 at the Lounge at Madison Crossing in West Yellowstone. The luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. with networking, socializing and a buffet. Calhoun’s entertaining presentation during lunch will be followed by an outdoor clothing fashion show featuring Red Ants Pants, as well as winter wear from West Yellowstone’s Freeheel and Wheel and the Homeroom in the Madison Crossing building.
December 27, 2012: Calhoun started Red Ants Pants, which makes American-made work pants for women, about six years ago in White Sulphur Springs. Her pants are sold around the world. She also started the Red Ants Pants Foundation, which supports women’s leadership, working family farms, ranches, and rural communities.
August 23, 2012: What is on the horizon for tart?
We opened an online store in 2010, which has been expanding. It’s focused on bringing Montana goods to the nation. We have an exciting lineup of fine art shows rotating through the tart gallery with a percentage of each going to a nonprofit of the tartist’s choice. The Red Ants Pants party takes place this fall, allowing local ladies to purchase award-winning women’s work pants. tart’s birthday party, the biggest shindig of them all, takes place next February—tart will be six. I feel like a proud parent. I love where this business is going.
July 1, 2012: Promotional photos show women in far-flung places such as Antarctica and Greenland wearing Red Ants Pants. The company remains a good example of a niche company that can prosper in the Internet age. And success keeps coming Calhoun’s way. Last March the Montana Ambassadors honored Calhoun as Entrepreneur of the Year. In May, the U.S. Small Business Administration honored her as its National Women in Business champion.
June 14, 2012: Women by nature are curvy,” Sarah Calhoun told her audience. “Squeezing curvy women into square men’s pants comes with a lot of problems.”
Calhoun proceeded to share a photo of said pants riding a bit too low on a woman, to the amusement – and applause – of attendees at the 2012 Women in Business Conference.
Calhoun was the keynote speaker for the biannual conference, held at the Bitterroot River Inn in Hamilton Thursday. She shared the story of starting her business, Red Ants Pants, as well as some of the ups and downs she’s faced along the way.
“At 25, I very naively said, ‘Start a business? How hard could that be?’” Calhoun said. The audience laughed again. “I had a lot to learn and made a lot of mistakes.”
June 11, 2012: Montana’s slate of stars includes an especially bright star this year, with Sarah Calhoun, founder and owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, capturing the Regional and National award for Women in Business Champion.
June 11, 2012: Red Ants Pants founder Sarah Calhoun brings her homegrown advice to the 2012 Montana Women in Business Conference Thursday in Hamilton.
Sarah was recognized last month by the Small Business Administration as the Women in Business Champion of the Year. She founded Red Ants Pants which makes sturdy work pants for women.
June 1, 2012: American companies have added more than 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months. Behind that number are countless small businesses – entrepreneurs with bold ideas and a willingness to dream big — meet some of them using this interactive tool. April 2010 – Sarah Calhoun’s Montana clothing company, Red Ants Pants, marks their 100th Tour de Pants event. Calhoun started the traveling roadshow out of a 1964 Airstream trailer to introduce her American-made work pants for women to new customers.
Montana Department of Labor & Industry: Montana District Office of Small Business Association Honors Local Winners
May 31, 2012: Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs was declared this year’s Women in Business Champion.
Missoulian: Guest Opinion: Rural Postal Service matters: Tester taking common sense steps to protect needs of seniors, small-business owners in Montana
May 24, 2012: As a small-business owner in White Sulfur Springs, I rely on the Postal Service to mail my goods around the world.
Montana Associated Technology Roundtables: Tester, Baucus congratulate Montana businesswoman Red Ants Pants owner Sarah Calhoun as national ‘Champion of the Year’
May 23, 2012: Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus today congratulate Montana’s Sarah Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, on being named the Women in Business Champion of The Year by the Small Business Administration.
The White House Blog: Montana Entrepreneur Says President Obama’s Plan Will Help Her Create New Jobs
November 30, 2011: Sarah Calhoun’s Red Ants Pants is growing fast — and if Congress passes the American Jobs Act, she says she’ll be able to hire people sooner than she planned
July 22, 2011: The chemistry Friday among four successful Montana business owners kept nearly 90 mostly female business leaders at Sen. Jon Tester’s Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings learning and laughing. Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants of White Sulphur Springs, recalled wanting to design pants that fit women’s curvy bodies, but not knowing where to start.
In 2004, she was in Bozeman reading “How to Start a Small Business for Dummies” when a guy noticed the title and struck up a conversation. He happened to have 20 years experience in production and design for Patagonia and became her mentor.
Red Ants Pants has yet to make a profit, but Calhoun started a foundation to launch the first Red Ants Pants Music Festival. Next weekend in White Sulphur, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and Guy Clark will play and the proceeds will go to help women in businesses and farmers and ranchers.
July 20, 2011: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is focusing on women in business during his eighth Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings on Friday. Four female business leaders, three of them from Billings, will discuss how they launched and built their business: Becky Reno, who heads up City Brew; Kris Carpenter, who owns Sanctuary Salon and Spas and other local businesses; Jolene Rieck, principal landscape architect at Peaks to Plains Design; and Sarah Calhoun of White Sulphur Springs, who founded Red Ant Pants for women.
July 10, 2011: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will host a Small Business Opportunity Workshop on July 22 at MSU Billings downtown.
July 4, 2010: Employees of Red Ants Pants, a Montana company based in White Sulphur Springs, joined with the Red Feather Development Group on June 25 to help build a straw-bale home at Lame Deer. Red Ants markets its rugged pants for women by traveling around in an Airstream trailer, lending a hand at local projects, supplying pants for the workers and getting their feedback.
Billings Gazette: Thinking outside the big box, New book from MSUB professor teaches entrepreneurs how to succeed without giant retailers such as Wal-Mart
May 2, 2010: Although these Montana entrepreneurs haven’t read it yet, they are instinctively following the advice of “The Distribution Trap,” a book co-authored by Tim Wilkinson, Montana State University Billings associate professor of marketing. Wilkinson and Thomas are arguing that the best-selling business books of the 1980s and 1990s could be wrong. That theory, still being taught in business schools, told manufacturers to focus solely on their “core competencies” — such as making a product — and outsource everything else like sales and distribution.
April 27, 2010: The sisterhood of traveling pants made a stop in the Bitterroot Valley on Tuesday to lend a hand to a single mother trying to build her dream home. On her current swing through western Montana and Idaho with her tour representative Maggie Doherty, the traveling pants team, tipped off by a customer, stopped to help another sister fulfill a dream. Langton, the sixth generation of her family to live on the Stevensville ranch, has returned home from a career teaching at the University of Oregon to reconnect with her roots and build the most ecologically friendly house she can imagine.
March 4, 2010: On Saturday, March 6, Red Ants’ “Tour de Pants” will pass through Whitefish, with a fashion show at the Hell Roaring Saloon, on Big Mountain, at 4 p.m. The event will allow women and men to check out the pants and try them on before buying, and though there will be ladies dancing on the bar, Calhoun assures it will be family-friendly. The following day, a house party in Whitefish, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. is planned where women can also check out the pants, as well as sample beers from Missoula’s Big Sky Brewery, a tour sponsor.
October 1, 2009: Whenever you try to fit a round body into square pants, something bad is bound to happen. Just ask Sarah Calhoun, a former Outward Bound instructor and trail crew leader who grew so weary of wearing ill-fitting male-oriented work pants that she decided to start her own company.
May 19, 2009
January 23, 2009
December 18, 2008
June 29, 2008
January 16, 2008: Whether you’re working cattle or working the club, you need the right pants. Just ask Sarah Calhoun.
November/December 2007: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
July 15, 2007
June 12, 2007
December 19, 2006
October 9, 2006