Local Designer's Ornaments Support Gillian's Place

ST. CATHARINES — As you stress over holiday wish lists and finding the perfect gift, Jennifer Newman has advice for you: purchase with purpose.

Newman, of Kaunis Designs, has a perfect solution. Over the coming weeks she is selling “Giving Back” holiday ornaments she created in support of Gillian’s Place. When each ornament, which features sophisticated wire work with authentic Swarovski crystal enhancements, is sold, 25 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to Gillian’s Place, an organization that provides safe shelter with a full range of support services for abused women and their children from Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold, and West Lincoln. These essential services include 24-hour support counselling, safe shelter, safety planning, emotional support, legal advice and transitional assistance. Gillian’s Place also works diligently to provide public education and raise community awareness on the issue of violence against women.

“It’s about giving back and giving to others,” said Newman, who launched three seasonal designs and is starting an annual tradition of giving back by committing financial support to local community organizations.

The ornaments were created as an enduring symbol of hope, strength and beauty, said the St. Catharines artist, all characteristics that are meaningful to the work done at Gillian’s Place.

In fact, Newman said she herself was supported by Gillian’s Place more than a decade ago.

“It’s such an important place in our community with all of the resources they provide,” she said. “You feel safe, and you feel supported and feel there’s hope.”

Newman established Kaunis Designs 13 years ago, and over the years her signature design has become the wound wire circle with the special meaning that ties to her time spent at Gillian’s Place.

“One piece of wire is weak, but when entwined with others, there is strength,” she said. “That’s pretty symbolic of my experience with Gillian’s Place. With their support, I found the strength to make life better for my family and myself.”

The ornaments, which range from $25 to $45 depending on the design, are available at several local retailers, including Figg Street Co. in Thorold, Presentations in Fonthill and The Artisan Collective Pop-Up Shop which has opened its doors at 122 St. Paul St. in downtown St. Catharines. She also sold the ornaments at the One-of-a-Kind Show this past weekend in Toronto, where she directed the proceeds to Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter.

“I’ve always wanted to be at a point with my business that I could give back, and I am happy begin by supporting a cause that is so important to our community,” said Newman.

Ornaments can also be ordered online at and buyers can select which shelter they would like to support with their purchase.

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