Diocesan News

Pre-Teen Jewelry Maker Donates Half of Her Proceeds to Charities

Gianna “Gigi” Solitario shows some of the beaded bracelets she has in stock. Adult bracelets take longer to make than children’s jewelry, “because adults have bigger wrists,” she said. (Photo: Paula Katinas)bracelets take longer to make than children’s jewelry, “because adults have bigger wrists,” she said. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

BAY RIDGE — Like many entrepreneurs, Gianna Solitario juggles the demands of running a small business with a busy personal life. Unlike other entrepreneurs, she also has to juggle it all while doing her homework and studying for a social studies test.

Gianna, whose nickname is Gigi, is a seventh grader at St. Ephrem Catholic Academy in Dyker Heights. 

Gigi is the founder of Gigi’s Creations, a costume jewelry business featuring colorful hand-crafted beaded bracelets she makes herself and sells for $5 each on her Instagram page, gigis_creations_8.

Gigi’s Creations has generated $3,000 in revenue, her mom Jillian Fezza said.

But this 12-year-old doesn’t keep all of the profits. She donates 50% of the proceeds to various charities, including Grandma’s Love Inc., El-Rose Foundation, the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade, and organizations that assist families coping with childhood cancer.

“I like to help. Right now, I’m working with an animal shelter that helps animals get adopted,” she said during an interview in her grandmother Marianne Fezza’s Bay Ridge home.

Gigi said she feels that part of being a good Catholic is using one’s talents to help others.

Each bracelet is carefully crafted by Gigi Solitario, who patiently strings together the beads. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

Gigi’s generosity has earned her admiration and recognition. The leaders of Grandma’s Love Inc., an organization that provides food for children from underprivileged families, gave her a Young Philanthropist Award at a gala celebrating their 10th anniversary. 

“I was very surprised because I didn’t think I would be getting an award,” she recalled.

“She deserved it. She’s a wonderful, generous girl,” said Grandma’s Love founder Theresa Monforte-Caraballo.

Despite her youth, Gigi has been in business for a while. She began in 2020. “It started when I was 9 and COVID was around. When I was bored, the number one thing I liked to do was make bracelets. I would have my mom make the string and I would put on the beads,” she explained.

Jillian Fezza is proud of her daughter. “Every time we make a plan to create bracelets or to help an organization, Gianna always goes above and beyond,” she said.

Marianne Fezza, who is active in Grandma’s Love Inc. and other charities, said she didn’t encourage Gigi to follow in her footsteps but was happily surprised when she did. “I guess she saw what I was doing and wanted to do it,” she said.

When she’s not making jewelry or doing homework, she enjoys dancing, doing cartwheels and playing volleyball. She is a member of Girl Scout Troop 2515 at St. Ephrem Church.

Gigi Solitario likes working with beads in a variety of colors. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

Given the success of Gigi’s Creations, it might be surprising to learn that Gigi’s career plans do not include jewelry. “I want to be a hairdresser or a nail technician,” she said.

In the meantime, she will continue to sell her jewelry.