MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Though she runs a retail formal wear business in Martinsburg, Dana Knowles is empowering women entrepreneurs in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, and she has a remarkable story to tell.
You’ve heard the expression “this is the best thing since sliced bread.” Now, meet a woman in Martinsburg who invents those things.
You might catch her mentoring a “Junior Achievement for adults,” inspired by the popular television show “Shark Tank.” Knowles specializes in new consumer products, typically for the household kitchen or bath. She works with creative-minded women to develop their ideas from the planning stage, to manufacturing, to licensing and marketing. Her magic touch has brought her and like-minded women great success in the business world.
Knowles said, “To teach me how to take a product from the mind on to store shelves to get it out to the masses and I help other women do the same thing.”
It all involves a process of close to a dozen steps, says Knowles. There are the legal formalities with the federal patent and trademark office, but then all that creativity is taken to market.
“We come up with the idea,” Knowles said. “We file a little bit of paperwork with the U.S. PTO and then we present it to companies who are looking for new ideas. And then they take the idea and they run with it.”
Knowles clearly thrives in her side gig from retail, especially over the past year when the pandemic hit small storefront businesses hard. She is fired up with enthusiasm she is most eager to share.
“There are so many people that have so many great ideas,” Knowles said. “Especially women. We come up with ideas all the time. And because we’re at home doing whatever we’re doing. And I love to teach other women inventors.”
Knowles is reaching out to widen her network of women entrepreneurs. Her new inventions are often showcased by the United Inventors Association, the Academy of Applied Science and Inventors’ Digest magazine.