Fashion items aid violence victims

MARTINSBURG – Dana Knowles’ knitted Kuphs don’t just keep wrists warm and lend pizzazz to cold-weather outfits. These funky fashion pieces look good and do good, too.

Every time a fashion lover buys a Kuphs set online, at her downtown Martinsburg store Day’ Javu or from other retailers, Knowles donates $1 from each sale to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Kuphs are particularly in the spotlight this month, with the start of the chilly weather that makes them sought after by women looking for an extra way to stay warm and also because October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Helping women get their lives on track – it’s what gets me jumping out of bed every morning,” said Knowles, who spent time in a shelter for battered women in her native Pennsylvania as her second marriage was ending.

Now happily married for a decade to Kevin Knowles, a new Martinsburg City Councilman and Roach Energy vendor relations executive, Knowles stays busy with her Kuphs business as well as Day’ Javu, the second-hand clothes shop at 123 N. Queen St. that she opened in 2005.

She also is the owner of Dana’s Tuxedo at 127 N. Queen St., where her attentive customer service has men and boys looking their best at weddings, proms and other special occasions.

Knowles’ Kuphs link dates to 2006. Recovering from the flu, she was watching TV when she spotted yarn and knitting needles left behind by a friend. “I hadn’t knitted since high school, but I went online and brushed up and then started to make a scarf,” she recalled.

Knowles explains she quickly ran out of energy for the project and was left with a small knitted “nothing.” But when she happened to let the piece flop onto her wrist, she realized the nothing looked rather special.

And after knitting a matching cuff, she wore the set to a social function and got compliments – and orders from women who instantly viewed the knit pieces as a one-of-a-kind must-have.

She also has found ways to partner with other Panhandle businesses, including a line of Kuphs made with 100 percent Suri Alpaca hair from a farm in Hedgesville.

With the winter chill sets in, look for Kuphs sales to again heat up. “Women tell me they like Kuphs because they’re removable and you can mix and match them with a lot of different jackets and tops,” said Knowles, who has been featured with Kuphs in publications such as Inventors Digest. “They’re comfortable and fun. It’s an easy way to change the whole look of an outfit.”

Knowles, a mother and a grandmother who regularly hires domestic violence survivors to work in her stores, sees Kuphs as a way to contribute to making the world a better place.

“I love Kuphs because I can see them as a way to reach my dream of having the biggest impact possible in the lives of women who’s been abused,” she said. “It’s my mission in life.”


Want to know more?

Kuphs start at $15.99 and may be purchased at Day Javu, Knowles shop on Queen Street in Martinsburg, as well as online at



Another way to help

October is an ideal time to help the Shenandoah Women’s Center in Charles Town. The center accepts clothes (in-season only), hygiene items and household goods such as shampoo and soap, non-perishable foods, gift cards for grocery stores and monetary donations. Donations may be dropped off at 110 N. Lawrence St. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

Volunteers also are needed. Tasks include acting as a support system by accompanying battering victims to court and helping with fundraising. For more information, call 304-725-7080.

The Women’s Center also has locations in Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs.

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