Cynthia O’Connor is a fashion industry leader and entrepreneur with a proven track record for building brands. She founded Cynthia O’Connor + Company, a multi-category women’s fashion showroom in 1992 through 2011. She has achieved sales volume as high as 45 million annually bringing designers into prominence such as Kate Spade, Me and Ro, Lela Rose, Isabella Fiore, and Kooba. Discovered at the inception of business in 1993, O’Connor exclusively represented and grew Kate Spade into a household name by 1998.
In 1999, O’Connor moved its operation to a 6000 sq ft loft (expanded to 12000 sq ft in 2007) located in the heart of the New York garment district. The new concept would be “one stop shopping” for the buyer creating a mix of ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes and handbags.
Cynthia O’Connor + Company had distribution world-wide with over 5000 better specialty and department stores. Her relationships with retailers and strong start-up business experience helped her grow emerging designers into multi-million dollar companies. “We were the incubator for talent. We had a team of talented executives who have been leaders in the industry working closely with the designers on brand strategy, marketing, infrastructure. Our designers moved to brand status quicker because we provide this infrastructure they couldn't afford on their own” said O’Connor.
O’Connor formed ADH, Accessories Design Holdings which acquired
Isabella Fiore. As President and partner, O’Connor grew the sales of
Isabella Fiore bringing it to major brand recognition.
O’Connor has cultivated excellent relationships industry wide with press and top management in the retail sector. She has generated regional and international exposure for Cynthia O’Connor + Company and her designers. O'Connor is looked to in her industry as a credible and valuable source for fashion trends and information. “We think of Cynthia as the Steven Spielberg of the fashion industry,” said one industry insider.
O’Connor was named by Gotham Magazine as a “Power Brander”, Forbes as an industry expert, and is a regular resource for WWD and forbes.com. O’Connor has appeared on Fox and Access Hollywood as a fashion and lifestyle consultant. Cynthia’s homes have appeared in Country Home magazine, Country Style Book and Southern Accents Magazine. The Cynthia O’Connor + Company Showroom appeared in Interior Design Magazine and WWD.
A Dallas native, O’Connor worked in the fashion industry since 1981. Trained as an assistant buyer in the Federated Department Store Sanger Harris, she was quickly promoted to fashion director for 18 stores. She moved on to other positions in retail including managing Alexander Julian’s first Couture Store. In 1992, O’Connor was working at Dallas based Stanley Korshak as an Accessory Buyer when she met her husband and relocated with him to New York City.
O’Connor attended the University of Oklahoma and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design. She is married to Fuller O’Connor, a Managing Directing at EJF Capital, and has a eighteen year old daughter. She resides in New York City, McLean, Virginia and Middleburg, Virginia.