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Persistence Leads Norwalk Woman to Dream Career

When Cynthia Saxe, architectural sales manager for ABC Stone , wanted to study interior design at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan, her mother said there was no money in it. Cynthia's Plan B, to enlist with the Marines, didn't pass muster with her mother either. So Cynthia ended up at FIT studying fashion merchandising. But the interior design seed stayed in the back of her mind waiting to sprout.

After several years of retail management, the Norwalk, Conn.’s stars came together when she was working at an upscale fashion emporium in Manhattan. “I was involved in the construction of the new Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue,” she says. “I loved all the stone – it was stunning.” She knew it was time for a career change.

After a spell at Artistic Tile in Scarsdale, N.Y., where she learned about tile, Cynthia moved to AKDO , a stone importer in Bridgeport specializing in mosaics. She traveled to Turkey to learn about stone and marble. “I studied mosaics at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul,” she says, “And learned how to manipulate stone.”

When AKDO moved from an old warehouse by the train tracks to its new showroom , Cynthia was put in charge of designing the space which included 11 bathrooms that showcase the company’s stone and mosaics.

Cynthia now works with architects and interior designers for ABC Stone , a company founded and owned by quarry owners from Brazil, Portugal, Italy and France. “We fabricate fireplaces, radial staircases, banister rails, window frames – any architectural detail the designers give us,” she says.

Cynthia works on projects all over the world ranging from the MGM hotel in Las Vegas to all 6,000 Lancome stores, which are decorated with white stone and tile. She gets to travel too, most recently to quarries in France and Italy to pick out the rough blocks of stone that will be sliced into slabs. “I love my work,” she says, adding that she no longer has much time for her other passion, boating. "I don't mind because I'm doing what I always wanted to do."

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