In a world striving, and struggling, to live more sustainably, one Montana-based business has developed a product which gives back, from production to point of sale.
“Jelt is a Social Enterprise whose sole mission is to create lifestyle products that everyone needs, manufactured in a way that empowers underserved women, and donates a portion of all sales to organizations supporting veterans, kids, and the environment," states Jen Perry, founder and president of Jelt. Their flagship item is the Jelt belt.
“Jelt belts are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. They are designed with a flat, no-show buckle and a grippy inner gel that keeps the belt in place with or without belt loops. Our belts are metal free for ease through airport security and other metal detectors.”
Jen’s inspiration for creating this unique product came during a time of self-reflection, after a near death experience caused her to re-evaluate her priorities.
“After surviving a ruptured appendix and months in the hospital, I knew I wanted to do more with my life,” Jen recalls. “I wanted to create a product that people needed and then donate sales to charitable organizations. I wanted to make my mark in the world by giving back and Jelt has enabled me to do that.”
Influenced by the elastic rainbow belts she wore as a kid in the 80s, Jen wanted to create a functional piece which could be worn with anything, from skinny jeans to ski pants. In 2014, she founded Jelt. As the company has grown, Jen’s role has evolved. She designs new products, oversees the management team, secures funding for projects, and serves as the spokesperson for Jelt at all events.
“I share the brand and our mission to give back through various community events and public speaking engagements,” she adds.
Jelt products are 100% Montana made. The company is based out of Bozeman, and the belts are manufactured in the Billings Women’s Prison through the Montana Correctional Enterprise Program.
“This privileged program interviews, trains, and pays incarcerated women to give them the skills and self-confidence needed to be more productive when they are released,” explains Jen. "We also expanded our manufacturing to include women living on remote ranches in Montana, allowing them to earn extra money for their families in the off seasons.”
As a Certified B Corporation and member of 1% for the Planet, Jen’s vision for the company is being fulfilled as Jelt makes an impact, both near and far. B Corps are businesses which meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. 1% for the Planet is a globally recognized brand and an international organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes. Since inception, Jelt has donated thousands of dollars to charities around the globe.
“Jelt is dedicated to making a difference by enhancing lives with responsible and sustainable fashion,” Jen concludes. “We’re never too serious –we’re always ready for a good time and constantly growing through new adventures.”