About the Biz
- Company Name: Recover Brands
- Who we talked with: President & Founder, Bill Johnston
- Year established: 2010
- How to Find Them: www.recoverbrands.com
- Socialize: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Get to Know: Recover Brands
Recover is a sustainable apparel company based in North Carolina. We specialize in making apparel out of 100% recycled materials; recycled plastic and recycled cotton. It takes just eight plastic bottles to make one shirt! We are a mission-driven company, focusing on environmental and societal responsibility in all aspects of our business. We sell direct to consumers, but we are primarily a B2B wholesaler and offer custom designs and prints on all of our products so businesses, organizations, and events can co-brand with Recover and tell their sustainability story.
As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
Mentors have certainly been a big part of my professional development. Surrounding myself with business leaders who can offer support, advice, and guidance is everything. Wake Forest has been influential to my development over the last few years. I have taken several of their certification courses, which focus on topics that relate to running my business, such as finance, accounting, and design thinking. I have also joined their Center For Private Business and participate in a forum.
What has been the biggest lesson learned during your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you used that to grow your business?
It’s one thing to have a vision, but it’s another to execute that vision. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of persistence and determination, especially when you’re starting a new concept. There is a thin balance between staying true to your vision and evolving with the market-based demands. As much as anything, you have to stay true to your vision and continue to work as hard as you can while keeping up with demands.
What was the greatest challenge when developing the design for these recycled clothing lines? How did your team overcome that challenge?
It’s been getting people excited to wear clothing made from 100% recycled materials. When we first started Recover, people thought the concept was crazy. Often saying, “you want me to wear a shirt made from trash?” We still hear some of that today, but generally speaking, I think people are becoming much more conscious about the need to protect our natural environment. Climate change is real, and everyday people have bought into the idea of supporting brands that have transparent supply chains and use sustainable textiles. From a product standpoint, we’ve worked hard to push the envelope to create remarkably soft, comfortable, and durable products. From the beginning, we believed it was vital to our success that the shirts be of top quality. It’s not enough to just be recycled; for people to buy into the brand, the product has to be exceptional, too. That approach has helped us fine-tune our process every time we make a new product, so we’re in constant pursuit to get better.
Can you tell our readers more about the impact your company has to have on the environment?
In 2018 we officially sold over 1 million products. That was a tremendous milestone for Recover, from a business and environmental perspective.
We’re able to quantify our environmental impact by measuring each product we make and sell, and selling 1 million products means that Recover has diverted 7.8 million plastic bottles from the landfill, saved 29.2 million kWh of energy, saved 11.8 million lbs of CO2 emissions, and saved 2 billion gallons of water.
What are your hopes and dreams for Recover’s future? Where would you like to see the company go?
As I mentioned earlier, we are a mission-driven company and a big part of our mission is to educate and inspire people to live and work for a more sustainable tomorrow. Since day one, this has been in the company’s DNA, and it’s more important to us now than ever. We want to use our brand as a vehicle to do good and help protect and preserve the natural environment. Our ultimate goal is to be the number one sustainable apparel company in the world, and by using the most eco-friendly textiles and socially responsible manufacturers, we can make a huge impact for a more sustainable tomorrow.