Exclusive Interview With Jen Perry

Jen Perry is a highly motivated and amazingly creative women from Bozeman, Montana and a founder of Jelt Belt.

What was your inspiration for the designs?
I was tired of buying $200+ jeans and having them blow-out/show my crack after wearing them for a bit, but I didn’t like traditional, bulky belts. I remembered the funky, stetchy belts from my childhood and used that as inspiration for Jelt. I wanted Jelt to be a modern-retro look, which is my favorite style.

What is the main idea behind Jelt Belt?
We are the only 100% recycled elastic yarn belt with a grippy inner gel that is for both men and women. We have morphed from a belt you wear with jeans, to a belt you wear before, during and après. You can wear it straight through airport security, while skiing, hiking, golfing, then at the bar that night! It’s a one belt does it all idea!

Tell us about your journey from an initial idea phase of Jelt Belt to its final production.
I started Jelt all by myself. I was introduced to a man in New York, who helped people’s inventions become reality. I worked with him for over a year—showing him examples of elastic, grippy gel and buckles that I liked. He helped me get an autocad of the patent-pending design. There was a lot of looking at elastic belts from the 70’s and 80’s, then modifying them to fit an active lifestyle.

How do you manage the duality between driving new business and overseeing daily operations?
Not well. Hahahaha! I wear a lot of “hats”. I am a mother of 2 boys, a wife of one large “boy” and a Guest Ranch Operator. I also play tennis and ski, which I refuse to give up! I think I would be a much more recognized brand if I focused entirely on Jelt, but I’m old enough to know that money does not buy happiness. I am the luckiest person I know because my family and friends support me, and I have hired a few truly loyal people to help me with Jelt.

What is your favorite part about being a founder of Jelt Belt?
It is so awesome to be somewhere, like the airport or at a restaurant, and see someone you don’t know wearing a Jelt! If I have the nerve, I go up to them and say, “Hey, you’re Jelting! I am the Jelt Inventor!” hahahaha! I also like expanding my creative brain into a business brain. I can’t believe how much I’m learning about business and ecommerce!

Which celebrity would you like to have as a brand ambassador of Jelt Belt and why?
Honestly, I pictured Jelts being worn all over Austin, Texas, even though I’ve only been there once. I love the style there and the music. I have been a Ryan Adams fan for years and would freak out if I could get him to wear a Jelt on stage. The buckle won’t scratch his guitar!!!

Where can people buy Jelt Belt?
You can buy Jelts on jeltbelt.com, on Amazon.com and in a handful of boutiques across the U.S. You can email us at info@jeltbelt.com for a list of retailers.

If you only had 1 year to live, would you build this company?
Trust me, I’ve thought about this A LOT. I almost died of complications from a ruptured appendix 8 years ago, so I know what it’s like to be on death’s door. It’s actually why I took the leap to bring my Jelt invention to life! I know that every day is a gift and you never know when it’s your time to go. I am currently wearing a bracelet that says “Carpe Diem” to remind me of how amazing life is and to seize the day.  So, if I had just one year, I would probably use that “death’s door” story to get on Shark Tank or do some sort of crazy media push to get the world Jelting before the Inventor “hopped the twig”, as my grandma used to say. hahahaha

What are your plans for the future?
My goal is to make Jelt a known brand and to make it successful enough to make a sizable donation to Warriors in Quiet Waters (I donate $1 of every Jelt sold to them). I would also like to compensate the loyal people who jumped on board this crazy Jelt ship someday.

Do you have any advice for the young designers out there pursuing their dreams?
Yep. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because of fear of criticism. You will have lots of criticism over the course of your project, but don’t take it personally. You will have as many supporters as you do critics, so let the bad juju roll of of you. Keep on Jelting! (or whatever your mantra is!)

View Original Concept At Jelt Belt

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