It’s no surprise to us that the high rate of plastic waste and pollution is causing serious damage to our planet. What is surprising is that the terms ‘conscious consumerism’, ‘conscious lifestyle’ and ‘conscious living’ are still relatively new phrases to the narrative of most of our lives. Some consumers have started consciously changing their purchasing behavior, deciding where to shop and who to purchase from based on a brand’s social and environmental impact.
There is an increased awareness of the impact of one’s decisions, but it is up to us as a whole to help everyone learn what it actually means to care about the products they buy, and the brands they buy them from. We need to help people research the brands they are shopping from and realize that being a thoughtful consumer doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s not about giving anything up—including affordability, accessibility, or authenticity—it’s about getting more. It’s about solving today’s problems through positive business and one of the brands helping to do this is Bozeman-based social enterprise, Jelt.
Inventor and owner of Jelt, Jen Perry, set out in 2014 to not only make a high-quality product that users could wear again and again but to use her company as a platform to give back and influence others to do the same. With local manufacturing and the mission to donate a portion of every belt sold to organizations that support veterans, the environment, and families, Jelt is proving that in business, it can all come full circle.
Made from recycled plastic bottles
Jelt belts are retro-inspired, multi-functional belts for everyday use, travel and outdoor activities. The belts consist of super strong, stretchy elastic made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The patent-pending design has a low-profile buckle and a non-slip grippy inner gel that holds on tight, keeping the belt in place and your pants on.
Started as a social enterprise, Jelt is committed to social responsibility. Jelt not only gives back (current partners include Warriors and Quiet Water Foundation, THRIVE, and 1% For the Planet) but also strives to help people live a more productive life. In 2015, the company moved its manufacturing from China to the Montana Women’s Prison via the Montana Correctional Enterprise (MCE) Program. This voluntary and privileged program helps to break the cycle of incarceration by interviewing, training and paying the women, giving them skills and confidence to live a more productive life after they are released.
Jelt also provides sewing jobs to stay-at-home moms living on rural ranches in Montana. Jen believes that businesses should have a direct impact on their local communities, provide jobs, and empower those around them to do good as well.
Jelt is a company that continues to improve its business model and practices to help inform and educate consumers of the small changes they can make. In 2017, the company underwent a rigorous evaluation process issued by B Lab to receive its official B Corp certification, which ensured it met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to function as a new kind of company—one that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
“Jelt was created to give back to our communities in a multitude of ways and we’ve worked very hard to make sure that each part of our company is making a positive impact,” says founder Jennifer Perry.
The common approach to shopping today includes little to no concern for how our buying practices affect the world as a whole, or concern to where your product came from. While the manufacturing of goods is still in need of significant change, it is increasingly evident that it is not only a change in the industry but also a change in the consumer mindset that is necessary to continue the upward trend towards sharing this responsibility. And to change that mindset, we need companies to help spread this message and influence change through their platforms.
Made for men, women, and kids, Jelt is changing not only the way you wear belts but is helping to spread conscious consumerism and a mission that we can all get on board with.