Cynthia Davis began her career in faux finishing in 1993. Although, faux finishing was not her first career, she says that her positions in the marketing field leading up to her decorative painting career helped to prepare her as a businesswoman. After studying Business at the University of Vermont and Fine Art at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cynthia went to work as an account executive at an advertising firm in Boston. Her initial position as firm’s Traffic Department Supervisor required her to coordinate and organize ads and their release to hundreds of radio, TV stations and newspapers. This experience taught her the important ability to successfully juggle clients, her business, and family life successfully. After six years working in advertising she went to work for her family’s hardware and paint business. In this position, she worked to create an employee training program for 600 employees and handled customer relations for 36 stores. This further reinforced her customer service skills, which she feels are most essential for running a successful business.
When Cynthia relocated to Connecticut her career in faux finishing was born. She redecorated the walls in her house and received rave reviews. Friends and family began offering to pay her to finish their walls and eventually she took them up on it, and her first business, The Finish Line, was born in 1996. She worked under that business name for five years until she changed the name to Cynthia Designs.
Cynthia Designs is made up of Cynthia and her assistant Rena Paris. At one time they had more employees, but Cynthia felt that she was losing the contact with her customers that she valued, and decided to go down to just her and her assistant. Her business focuses on all over patterned finishes; however, she says, “it’s not all about the walls.” She also enjoys working on doors, floors, fabric, and fixtures. She also says that she likes to experiment with different products. Some of her favorites to work with are Modern Masters products, metallic powders, metallic foils, and Venetian plasters.
When asked what her favorite job has been, she says that she does not have a favorite. She aims to make each finish unique and does not like to repeat the same thing twice. She says, “selling a ‘different’ finish is her idea of being creative and unique. She likes people to be able to tell it is her work but not say “I’ve seen that before”. Beautiful patterns and layers of that create interest are her specialty. Cynthia feeds off of the enthusiasm of her clients and enjoys working in homes where her clients are excited about the process.
In addition to Cynthia Designs, Cynthia and her assistant Rena Paris also run WalloversÔ as a partnership. WalloversÔ was created because the two found they were creating allover stencil designs for many jobs and felt they could share them with other artisans. The WalloversÔ stencil system consists of ready to use “all over” patterned stencil and a unique coordinating Wall “topper”Ô stencil to finish off the top of the wall without the hassle of traditional stencils. No other stencil line has the “topper” and it makes sense for WalloversÔ because they sell only “Allover” patterns where the “topper” is a most helpful tool.
Customer service is extremely important to Cynthia. Whether it is a Wallover’sÔ customer or a Cynthia Designs’ customer, she strives for complete satisfaction. Cynthia’s belief is “90% of any job is making sure that your client is happy; the rest is the product you sell.” She never leaves a site until the client is happy with her work, and is always available to answer questions both for WalloversÔ and Cynthia Designs.
Charity work is also very close to Cynthia’s heart. Cynthia’s nephew has Autism, and in order to help him and others like him, She and her daughter Stephanie began the “Have a Heart” campaign which has raised over $25,000 for autism causes through selling painted denim and Stephanie’s painted pins. (www.stephcares.com) Cynthia is very proud of her daughter, and honored to be able to help her with her quest to improve the lives of people with Autism. Cynthia is also a board member of HOPE, Helping Offer Primary Education in Sudan. Her mission with HOPE is to increase education to minimize the crisis in Sudan. She has helped raise over $20,000 this year for the cause, some of which includes contributions from industry Artisans, Pierre Finkelstein, Barbara Skivington, and Melanie Royals. Cynthia and Rena plan to donate some of their booth proceeds at IDAL to HOPE. (www.HopeForAriang.org)
Cynthia and Kathy Carroll have a very special relationship. She met Kathy on a trip to France and has been mentored by her ever since. She says of Kathy “She is always there for advice. She is a very giving and great mentor and a fabulous, creative businessperson. She has always supported me and my [WalloversÔ] product, and I am extremely grateful for that.”
For more information about Cynthia Designs and WalloversÔ visit www.cynthiadesigns.com, www.wallovers.com or call 203-268-8928.