author of Headwaters: The Adventures, Obsession, and Evolution of a Fly...Listen Now
Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, rural entrepreneur Sarah Calhoun founded Red Ants Pants, designing pants that would fit and flatter working women. Based in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, Calhoun is also the founder of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival held there every summer. Festival proceeds fuel the Red Ants Pants Foundation, supporting women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities.
Sarah Calhoun has two decades of leadership experience in both the non-profit and small business sectors, working in the outdoor education industry before founding Red Ants Pants in 2006.
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.
Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, Calhoun designed pants that would fit, function and flatter working women. Red Ants Pants are made in the USA and that will not change. Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana where the storefront, distribution center, and international headquarters all reside in a historic saddle shop. Known for their grass roots marketing efforts, including ‘Tour de Pants,’ the direct sales business model is proving effective.
Calhoun’s grit has brought her enterprises national recognition over the years – in 2018 she was named to the Montana Business Hall of Fame and the Festival received the prestigious Event of the Year award from the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. In 2016, featured in The New York Times and The Huffington Post. In 2015, selected as one of only 100 businesses nationwide to participate in the Small Business Majority’s Small Business Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. In 2012, named the National Women in Business Champion for the Small Business Administration. In 2011, invited by President Obama to attend a White House forum on jobs and economic development after serving as a US Delegate to the APEC Women in Business Summit in San Francisco. Closer to home, she was honored when Governor Schweitzer named her the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of Montana. Calhoun and her company have been featured in many national publications including Entrepreneur, National Geographic, Delta Sky, Country Woman, and Sunset.
Calhoun has been called a “revolutionary figure in rural business today” and a “powerhouse of inspiration for women in business.” Her dynamic style and inspiring experiences as an entrepreneur make her a highly sought after keynote speaker. She has given two TEDx talks, dozens of keynote addresses, and has been featured on national television programs such as CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg.
As Calhoun has risen to the top echelons of success as a rural entrepreneur, she is paying it forward by actively encouraging and mentoring other women starting their own businesses.
Calhoun spends her free time enjoying Montana’s great outdoors, cutting firewood, hunting, and camping. She lives in White Sulphur with her dog Nellie.