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The Recover Story

Posted by Recover Brands on

Our mission is to create the best, most environmentally friendly and socially responsible products possible, and to educate and inspire those around us to live and work for a sustainable tomorrow.  

Recover was created as a result of serendipity, innovation amidst circumstance, and the shared love of the outdoors.  The world is constantly changing, and at the beginning and end of each day, it’s up to all of us to decide how we engage with what’s out there in the given moment.  In all we do at Recover, we choose to take what’s out there and make positive impact that inspires and realizes a more sustainable tomorrow today.

“In starting Recover with John, there were no reservations.  It was more of a ‘We're running with this, and using 100% recycled apparel as a vehicle to do good and drive much-needed positive change in something we deeply care about... the natural environment.’” -Bill Johnston, President and Co-Founder


It all started with a bicycle… 

2008: Bill Johnston graduates from NC State “obsessed with sustainability” and the outdoors.  The economic crisis hits and obliterates employment opportunities in the US. Bill works as an outdoor guide taking students on backpacking and mountaineering trips, and begins to think outside the box about involvement in the sustainability field in a jobless market.

2009: 23-year old Bill and 50-year-old family friend and veteran textile manufacturer John Riddle reconnect serendipitously when Bill is looking to buy a road bike and John has one to sell.  The two begin riding together and talking possibilities of making apparel out of recycled plastic bottles and upcycled cotton. While spinning wheels, the idea for Recover is born.

2010:  Both John and Bill take the leap, investing time and money to found Recover, a sustainable outdoor apparel company with the mission of building the most environmentally friendly and socially responsible products possible.

2011: Recover uses its unique, proprietary process combining 100% recycled PET and upcycled cotton to make the lightweight, soft, durable Recover Tee.  The Recover process minimizes dyes, completely eliminates plastic packaging, and significantly reduces the use of chemicals, water, and energy.

2012: Recover products grow in popularity and Recover launches a wholesale program with custom designs and prints, building capacity to grow positive impact.  The company partners with a facility in Guatemala that’s powered by biomass from local forestry and coffee industry waste.

2013: Recover has customers in all 50 states and growing international customers.  Increased demand provides opportunity to do more good, and Recover partners with cut and sew work co-ops in Haiti to produce our growing line of apparel.

2014: The Recover Co-Brand program gains traction, offering custom design and print services to businesses and organizations.  The opportunity to boast an environmentally friendly and socially responsible product also increases education and inspiration for a sustainable tomorrow.

2015: Recover products expand to include new products such as the Sport line, polos, fleece, accessories and more.  The Recover team grows and is defined by individuals that work hard and play hard, engage in community and in environment, and unite in the Recover mission.

2016: Recover opens a new headquarters in Charlotte, NC with distributions, offices, and retail space.  The new headquarters hosts RAD concerts, community events, run clubs, and more. R&D creates a ready to launch Recover Local for 2017, which sources everything start to finish from within a 150 mile radius of our NC HQ.

2017: Recover continues to reach new audiences with over 1,200 wholesale customers and over 20,000 individual customers.  Partnering with local, national and global nonprofits, Recover directly raises funds, spreads the word, and gets out there in the field to work for a sustainable tomorrow.

2018: Recover makes impact by the numbers. Since 2010, Recover has diverted 7.8 million plastic bottles from the landfill, saved 29.2 million KWH of energy, saved 11.8 million lbs of carbon emissions, and saved 2 billion gallons of water. Alongside partners, in the 2 weeks directly following Hurricane Florence, Recover raises $130,000 for relief efforts, and continues to work with other nonprofits and businesses to create positive impact.

2019: Recover is not only committed to making the most environmentally friendly and socially responsible products possible, but also the best products possible. We are always working to further improve. In 2019, Recover launches new products with softer and more comfortable fabric and cuts, that, with every sale, contribute to clean water initiatives in Honduras.


Ever inspired by y’all, our story continues.

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