Staff Stories

Hear from the employees of Winston Flowers.

Why I Work For Winston Flowers

By Joe Donahue
Director of Operations, Boston Design Studio

  • With Winston Flowers since: 2003
  • Favorite season: Autumn
  • Describe your floral style: Textural
  • The most exciting part of my day at Winston Flowers is: The uncertainty of what a day may hold. In my position, there's always a new challenge or opportunity… and I enjoy coming in each day to find out what's in store.

For me, Winston Flowers is a family business in every sense of the title: my Mom used to manage the Hingham shop, I met my wife (a designer) here, my brother is a fellow coworker and my sister helps during the busy holidays. I initially landed a part time job with our delivery department while studying Business Management at UMass Boston… and what started as a summer gig has turned into a completely unexpected 11 year career. In 2005, I came on full time in Delivery & Dispatch, splitting my time between the Design Studio and Winston Flowers & Garden as a driver. A few years later, I was approached to join the design group—serving as a liaison between delivery and design as the Design Operations Coordinator. That's where I really took advantage of every learning opportunity, working side by side with our events team on the delivery and installation details so that each event went off without a hitch.

I really enjoyed the challenges and pace of that kind of work, so from that point I became the Assistant Design Manager, where day-to-day oversight of the department was added to my responsibilities as well. I began handling our complex operations for major holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and winter holiday installs. I thrive on logistics, trouble shooting, and love a good operational challenge—I get to do all of this constantly in my job.

Several years ago, I was promoted to Manager of Operations, and then again to my current position as Director of Events & Garden Design. In this role, I oversee all aspects of our special events and garden design installations, making sure these go off without a hitch, and the client is happy. But, what I love most about my role is managing my teams—I love seeing them succeed and I enjoy positioning people for growth and success within the company.

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Why I Work For Winston Flowers

By Matt McKenna
Creative Director of Garden Design & Retail

  • With Winston Flowers since: 2003
  • Favorite season: Autumn
  • I always… want my designs to be reflective of my client’s personality.
  • Describe your design style: Bold, simple and single variety.
  • Favorite thing about Winston Flowers: Tackling a blank-slate project. I love working with residential clients who have brand new spaces and trust us to make them beautiful.

My time at Winston Flowers started in our former Boylston Street shop with an art background and zero floral experience. As a Sales Associate there, I was really able to get my bearings in all aspects of the industry. From client relationships and sales, to floral design and merchandising, I learned pretty quickly that I loved the creative design element the most. I was encouraged to pursue that interest, and after some time I took a new position as a Visual Associate. I spent my days absorbing as much detail as possible about creative display and set-up. For several years I learned the ins and outs of retail and our seasonal cycle before becoming a Visual Manager; this meant gaining the increased responsibility of working directly with the Creative Director in all aspects of design—not only for flowers, but also for the Garden Center. It was my job to make our vessels, containers, floral and plant elements fit cohesively and reflect our brand vision. With the skill-set that I’d formed from growing in all levels of the business, I was later identified as a candidate for the Lead Visual Design position of the Garden Design department. My passion for and understanding of our product came from working in the stores every day and it served me well in a role where I needed to know all of our various containers, how to fill them and where to place them for our clients. As Lead Visual Designer it was my goal to make each installation by our team a strong representation of the Winston brand. Around that same time, David Winston began inviting me on buying trips to vendors around the world to select the upcoming container trends for retail and garden design; I had a knack for knowing what our clients wanted from years spent working in their spaces.

Now, as the Creative Director of Garden Design, I'm lead the direction all Garden Design projects. I’m also able to work closely with David to select unique product that continues to drive and define the Winston Flowers identity. Our brand is my favorite part of the job—Winston Flowers encourages creativity and exploration within a well-established identity of uncompromising quality.

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Why I Work For Winston Flowers

By Theresa Larivee
Lead Brand & Product Designer

  • With Winston Flowers since: January 2010
  • I always… let the flowers choose me! When arrangements are left to interpretation, I like to start with a really special flower and work from there. I tend to use the natural direction of each stem and focus on pulling out unexpected colors within the flowers by the way I select the other colors and blooms to complement and enhance each other.
  • Favorite season: Late spring into summer. It is full of fantastic, colorful flowers and textures like poppies, peonies, ranunculus, cosmos and then dahlia!
  • Describe your floral style: I like a gardeny, organic, asymmetrical style.
  • The most exciting part of my day at Winston Flowers is: Having access to such amazing product is incredible. I’ve worked in the floral industry for over 8 years now, and still every season we get a flower or variety that I’ve never seen before.

Let me start by saying: I love my job. I got my start at the Massachusetts College of Art where I studied the practice of printmaking. It’s actually not uncommon to find printmakers in a process-oriented role like floral design. While in school, I used my days off and weekends to introduce myself into the floral industry by working for some small florists in Back Bay, which is when I began to develop a strong passion for flowers. After graduation, I set my eyes on growing my talent and hoping to create a career in the industry. There was only one place I really wanted to be: Winston Flowers. It was about five years ago when I took a chance and applied for a design position at the Newbury Street location. I remember thinking how disappointed I would be if I didn’t get the job. Because I didn’t have direct design experience, I was hired as a Sales Associate; in that role I spent time focusing on customer service, but I also was able to regularly learn from the store designer and have focused training at the Design Studio. Within three months, I was promoted to Design Sales Associate of the shop and was thrilled to design while also working with the customers… it was the best of both worlds. I greatly enjoyed the client experience— from greeting customers and making them feel welcome, providing expertise and design, to packaging up and having them leave the store happy— I loved that whole process.

After a year, I was promoted again to Assistant Manager of Newbury. It was a welcomed new challenge as I learned and developed important managerial skills, and eventually I became the official Manager of that store. I really enjoyed my role, but there wasn’t as much time for me to design and create… So when the role as Design Manager of Winston Flower & Garden opened up, my manager immediately thought of me for the position. And that’s when I stepped into my dream job. Now, all day every day I am able to lead a wonderful team while expressing my creativity and sharing my artistic outlook with others. That leads me to what I love most about Winston Flowers: encouraging management that sees the potential in their employees and helps them achieve their goals. Being the creative and amicable person I am, I honestly never pictured myself as a retail manager. But I’ve learned that having a strong, positive attitude and a knack for encouraging others is just as important as being authoritative in a management position. I’m thankful to my manager for helping me see that and allowing me to develop my own management style.

Most people in the company would probably describe me as passionate… it’s hard not to be! I’m doing exactly what I love. It is wonderful to have a career in a great company with great benefits and the opportunity to be creative every day. As many art school graduates know, that is a rare combination. Winston Flowers also supports me as an artist outside of the floral world. Every day, I leave feeling fulfilled and refreshed with the energy to go home and develop my own art— I’ve even been able to contribute drawings and designs for company posters and invitations. Most recently, I hand-painted the custom packaging for our new holiday gourmet collection. It was so exciting watching the collection debut and knowing I was an integral part of the overall visual aesthetic.

Last on the long list of my favorite things: Winston Flowers is a successful business that is still clearly run by a family. I think it’s so important how involved and interactive our owners are. It’s also rare to work somewhere with such cool opportunities— like designing for glamorous events and high-profile clients… it’s exciting, to say the least. This is just a great place to be.

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Why I Work For Winston Flowers

By Karim Chuory
Assistant Design Manager

  • With Winston Flowers since: 2002
  • Favorite season: Summer
  • Describe your floral style: When I’m designing, my work is versatile— I can do anything the client requests. Personally, I like designs that are textural, organic and a little woodsy.
  • The most exciting part of my day at Winston Flowers is: Working with my colleagues, sharing silly stories and having fun.

I came to the states from Morocco in 1994, with no experience and no English— never having touched flowers before. When I arrived in Boston, I worked for another florist and spent my days cutting flowers, sweeping the floor and doing general maintenance. But during that entire time I was watching everyone around me, I’d observe and then create designs on my own time to show to my manager. That’s how I realized I have a knack for this.

In 2002, I applied for a job at Winston Flowers because of its reputation. I was hired as a designer and focused on weekly arrangements, grand hotel pieces and custom orders. I was trained directly by David Winston and our Director of Operations, so from day one I was learning the Winston Flowers signature style. About five years into my career here, I was approached to manage our gift collection— the beautiful designs featured on our website— and my job shifted from a strictly design role to more of a managerial role. Now I participate in the design and production of each collection. It was a challenge to adjust to being a manager, after you’re a part of a team for so long and then suddenly you’re overseeing everything. But I’ve discovered that I love teaching! Now when we hire new designers, they shadow me and I help them transition into our company.

Sometimes you don’t know how creative you are until someone gives you a chance. When Winston Flowers gave me the chance to manage the gift collection, I found that I really excelled and my designs were brought to another level. I also get to work with the most talented people and we have fun. We blast music, are surrounded by beautiful flowers, and enjoy being creative—even in the busiest times. From no English and no experience with flowers, to me today? That is why it is called the American dream.

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