Shannon Passero is the owner of Shannon Passero Design. For almost two decades, she was the co-founder, creative director and designer of the women’s clothing brands Pure Handknit, which debuted in 1998, and Neon Buddha, launched in 2006. Her designs have appeared on the covers of Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus catalogues, the television shows Celebrity Apprentice and City Line and in more than 2,500 better specialty stores throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Ethical work standards have always been at the forefront of Passero’s management strategy, and the brands have touched the lives of more than 6,000 workers in Northern Thailand since their inceptions. In 2013, Passero opened her flagship store and design studio in the Historic Old Firehall, in downtown Thorold. Last year, the store relocated to a 6,500- square foot retail boutique in The Post Office, also in downtown Thorold. Passero has a strong commitment to restoring and revitalizing heritage buildings and the Old Firehall and The Post Office were completely renovated and restored to their former glory. Both buildings were recently featured in the National Trust of Canada publication, and Passero received the 2015 Niagara Community Design Award for The Post Office.
Born and raised in Welland, Passero attended Ross Public School and Notre Dame High School. She graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours Arts Degree (1995) and returned to Niagara in 2009. Despite a hectic work schedule, Passero enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, their two daughters, their dogs and cat. And, every once in a while, she’s known to host a dinner party.
Passero is also passionate about encouraging women in business and, in 2013, established the Shannon Passero Women in Business Grant, two annual grants totaling $25,000 that are given to Ontario female business owners. The same year, Passero received the Niagara Entrepreneur Innovative Small Business Award and the Niagara Entrepreneur People’s Choice Award. She has since been honoured with the Niagara Catholic District School Board Distinguished Alumni Award and Emerging Business Award at the Women in Business Awards. She has also been featured in many media, including Niagara Magazine, The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Standard, Eco Parent Magazine and Elle Canada.