Do you Jelt? If your recycling bin is full of plastic bottles, then, yeah, you Jelt. Do your dollars do double-duty by going to businesses who donate back to your community? For sure, you Jelt.
With her company, Jelt Belt, Jen Perry has spun functional fashion into a socially-conscious lifestyle.
“Jelting is more than wearing a stylish, comfortable, grippy belt,” said Jen. “It’s about living life to the fullest, caring about the future of the planet, enriching the lives of our youth, and giving back to those who protect our freedom.”
Headquartered in Bozeman, the company strives to close the recycling loop by making belts from recycled plastics. They’ve incorporated upcycled materials into a slim, modern design without compromising dependability.
“The buckle has a flat profile and there's a gripping gel on the inside so you can wear it with or without belt loops,” Jen explained. An avid skier, she found inspiration for a grip-and-stick gel in the tech fabrics of ski fashion. “I designed the gel after the powder skirt on my ski jacket. It grips and doesn't slip,” she said.
Their most popular belt, the Jelt Original, sports a minimalist practicality.
“There's no metal so it's easy to get through airport security,” said Jen. The success of that belt allowed Jen and her crew to create two more models. “We saw a need for a more rugged version, so we created the Jelt Venture. It's wider and has a bigger buckle. Plus, we’re still able to use recycled plastics in the webbing. We also wanted a more adjustable belt so we created the JeltX. It’s wide, has a square buckle, and fits from 25 to 45 inches.”
The JeltX headlines a new Collegiate Collection that celebrates UM and MSU. With a logo on the buckle, customers can show their school pride and support their favorite Montana team. In addition, the buckle boasts an embedded magnet for easy, snap-and-go wear. The collection includes both university designs but—shhh, don’t tell anyone—it started with the Bobcats.
“You’ve got to give both schools their due,” Jen said. “It started with MSU but so many of my friends are from Missoula that I quickly applied for the UM licensing. Plus, I’m really proud that 9% of every sale goes to Grizzly programs. When you buy a belt you're giving back to the school.”
Philanthropy and integrity are at the heart of Jelt Belt. Products are made in the U.S.A., and the company has earned certification as a B Corporation.
“It’s a social enterprise designed to give back,” explained Jen. “I survived a near-death experience. After recovering, I volunteered for a local non-profit called THRIVE which helps support and strengthen families. While there, I noticed that businesses were sending in checks. Big checks. I thought, what kind of company can I start, so I can be the one writing those big checks?”
In addition to THRIVE, the company donates to two more nonprofits.
“This year, we chose Oceana. They really captured our hearts. In the past, we’ve supported Montana organizations like Yellowstone Forever,” said Jen. They also sell a Jelt designed with the logo of the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, Inc. which connects veterans with the sport of fly fishing. “Members of my family have served in the military. Our camo print is really popular right now. When people wear it, I hope they wear it with pride in our veterans and not just as a fashion statement.”
Jen’s concern for others drives her business sensibility. She understands how Jelt Belt can help turn the hubs of Montana economies and give local businesses more traction. “I need to be about something more. It wasn’t easy to get collegiate licensing but I’m proud that we can give back with our collection. I’m looking forward to when our school spirit can kick back up again. It’s such a big part of the community.”