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Women Fight Breast Cancer With Jewelry in Yorktown

The KBK Designs jewelry store in Shrub Oak not only sells custom made jewelry, they give back to the community.

Phyllis Karlin is no stranger to cancer. Her mother died of breast cancer, her grandmother had it and herself was diagnosed with the disease five years ago. Now, Karlin is a cancer survivor who is giving back to the community in every way she could.

While volunteer work has always been a part of her life, after her mother's death Karlin established a relationship with Support Connection, the Yorktown-based non-profit foundation which provides services to women with breast and ovarian cancer.

Last week, Karlin held an annual fundraiser at her Mohegan Lake home, which was attended by about 80 women. They had the chance to purchase custom-designed jewelry and accessories – profits from the event get donated to Support Connection. 

"I think that everyone should give back," said Karlin, who owns the KBK Designs jewelry store in Shrub Oak.

The store is the exclusive designer of Awareness Jewelry for Support Connection. It also features hand-crafted necklaces, bracelets, watches, earrings, eyeglass chains, handbag jewelry, and key chains created by the store's designers. Designers at the store also create jewelry for weddings and other formal events.

In April, 2007, Karlin and her KBK Designs staff received Support Connection's "Spirit of Caring" Award for "sharing their talent and kindness." Besides Karlin, the store's staff members include manager Debbie Castriota, of Mahopac; jewelry designers Sue Kelleher and Lisa Zarkower, both of Yorktown.

"It's a nice way to give back to the community and feel more connected to the people around you," Castriota said of their fundraising efforts. 

After beginning a fund with Support Connection a few years ago, Karlin expanded her fundraising efforts in the community by contracting with the NYPD Relay For Life (The American Cancer Society), and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She also supports the NYPD Policewomen's Endowment Association, the Hospice Care of Northern Westchester and Putnam and Relay For Life of Yorktown.

Working at KBK Designs – which opened its doors in 2004 and operates out of what used to be a 1940's Metro North train car, a dining cart and later a cigar shop – makes Karlin and Castriota happy, the women said. 

What has made the jewelry store successful over the last few years, they said, is their low prices and relationships with the customers. 

"We give you a lot of attention when you come in," Castriota said. "You should feel happy and pretty when you leave."

The store is located at 3668 Barger Street in Shrub Oak. They are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. For more information call 914-245-0722. 

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Phyllis Karlin October 24, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I own KBK, a joy everyday day for me. My youngest daughter designed the Support Connection Bracelet, we sold 500 bracelets of her design. Now, we have many designs, loops for your hand bags, loops for your sneakers, necklaces, bracelets, rings, water bottles, pillows, kitchen towels, et. Plus a store filled with beautiful jewelry. Each month, any item pink, blue,or purple, (purple is the survivor color) , KBK gives 18 per cent to Support Connection, and we have a matching fun that gives 100 per cent of our donation to Support Connection. The month of October, just tell us, we Support, Support Connection, all items get 18 per cent and our matching fund. Our party we give 100 per cent of our profits and they are matched. We are a store of 6, three of us had cancer, the other three lost a mother or mother - in Law to breast cancer. Thank you for your article and thank you to my husband that supported my store for the many years before we broke even or started to make a profit. I love you, Ron, my husband that hung in there with me. He has his wife, two daughters, his wonderful and loving x wife and many first cousins that had breast cancer.Thank you for doing our story, you are delightful
Phyllis Karlin October 24, 2012 at 02:26 AM
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