If you are a purpose-driven entrepreneur who is passionate about making a difference in your local community, then this is the episode for you. Today on the Rank & File Podcast I’m joined by Jen Perry, the founder and CEO of Jelt for a candid chat about building a community-minded brand.
After surviving a near-death experience and spending months in the hospital, Jen Perry knew she wanted to do more with her life. In 2014, she founded Jelt as a social enterprise, with the purpose of creating a product that everyone would need, while promoting and encouraging social change.
Jelt Belts are elastic belts made from recycled plastic bottles and are manufactured in a way that empowers outliers in her local community. Jelt Belts are produced by seamstresses living in rural Montana ranches and are also manufactured at the Women’s Prison in Billings, Montana, via the Montana Correctional Enterprise Program. This privileged program breaks the cycle of incarceration by interviewing, training and paying the women, giving them the skills and confidence needed to live a more productive life when released. Since its inception, Jelt has become a Certified B Corporation, is active in 1% For The Planet, and has donated thousands of dollars to charities all over the world.
In my conversation with founder and CEO Jen, we talk all about what it means to be a community-minded brand from mission, vision and values to local manufacturing, partnerships and marketing.
Side (but important) Note:
I spoke to Jen Perry a few months ago, before the outbreak of the Coronavirus. I know what you are thinking … “Kari, with the economy the way that it is, I am distancing myself from everyone, I’ve moved my office to my home, how am I supposed to engage my local community?”
Well, I know these crazy times have really challenged us as business owners, but I think now is a great time for us to go back to the basic of purpose-driven entrepreneurship, to put on our start-up brains and to think creatively about how we can turn a challenge, like the one we are experiencing, into an opportunity.
As you listen to my conversation with Jen Perry, I challenge you to think about how you can apply the community-minded approach to your business during these times. After all, a community spirit is exactly what we need to get through these times. It may not mean hiring more people or hosting a live event for the next several months, but it could mean creating new social media engagement, virtual events or employment opportunities that are home-based like what Jen will share with you shortly.
It is ALWAYS a good time for your business to become more community-minded. So if you are passionate about making change in your local community, I know you will enjoy all of the good stuff coming up on this episode of the Rank & File Podcast …
In Today’s podcast episode, you’ll learn:
- What it means to be a “community-minded” purpose-driven company
- Jen’s tips and ideas for moving manufacturing locally
- How Jelt uses local partnerships and a community spirit