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PASSION THAT IS BOLD AND FEARLESS.
Our collective experience is founded in the art of bringing visual interpretation to life that mirrors the emotional reactions of consumers, while embracing the brand’s environments. We love what we do. We are Winston.
Even Ricky Bobby thinks I am a really good driver.
Jan Croatt founded Winston with Eric Rothfeld in 2004, after she recognized that brands and retailers had a need for an experienced partner that could facilitate the retail landscape with efficiency to ultimately deliver a quality consumer experience. Jan’s passion for high-level design and results-oriented services has guided Winston to where it is today.
With more than 20 years of experience in the retail, apparel and footwear industry. Ms. Croatt has held numerous executive roles throughout her career; Director of Store Design, Development and Visual Merchandising at Levi Strauss & Co.; Corporate Vice President Retail Development at Kenneth Cole Productions; President at Todd Oldham, a Division of Jones Apparel Group and Executive Vice President Retail Development at Polo Jeans Company, Ralph Lauren. Her passion, drive and inspiration are the heart and soul of the Winston team.
Stop wishing. Start doing.
As a Winston co-founder, Diane Blake was instrumental in the development of Winston’s merchandising coordinator division. Diane is an industry veteran with more than 20 years experience in marketing and retail merchandising and currently heads up Winston’s new business development.
Prior to Winston, Ms. Blake was the CEO of Blake Marketing (an agency she founded in 2000) and worked with clients such as Nike (women’s apparel), Levi’s, and Trek Bicycles. On the brand side, Ms. Blake was Director of Retail Marketing and Merchandising at Levi Strauss & Co. from 1993-1999. Ms. Blake also brings big agency experience to Winston where she worked for Chiat/Day managing key accounts such as Reebok and MTV. Diane’s entrepreneur spirit and experience contributes greatly to the evolution of Winston and the services offered to clients.
I'm never done asking questions.
Mark Polinski has over 25 years of experience working with industry-leading brands in both wholesale and retail. His functional expertise spans merchandising, planning & allocation, store operations & development, HR/recruiting, marketing and business strategy. His diverse background makes him uniquely qualified to lead Winston’s operations team in delivering quality results for any client project.
Mark began his career at Lord & Taylor and held various positions in merchandising, store management, and recruiting. He moved to the wholesale side of the industry at Polo Ralph Lauren Menswear where he launched the Merchandise Planning Department. He was then tapped to be a part of the start-up team for Polo Jeans Company as the Sr. Director of Planning & Operations. He returned to Ralph Lauren as the VP of Planning & Development for Retail, working on strategy for both the full-price and outlet businesses in both the US and Europe. Mark continued his career path holding senior leadership roles in retail operations at both Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan. Most recently, he was the SVP of Outlets at The Children’s Place, where he was responsible for both the strategy and execution of their revamped business model. He has also managed his own successful freelance consulting business, Mark Polinski Enterprises.
Forever Orange and Blue, Tormented, but always true.
Steve Riegler has over 20 years’ experience in finance and accounting. Prior to joining Winston, Steve was the VP of Finance & Treasurer for Newtek Business Services, Inc. (“NBS”) and the CFO of Newtek Business Lending, a subsidiary of NBS from 2003 – 2014. Steve began his career as a public accountant with KPMG from 1992-1994 and EisnerAmper from 1994 – 1997. Steve also held the position of controller for two start-up technology companies between 1997 and 2003.
Steve graduated from Binghamton University’s School of Management with a BS in accounting and obtained his CPA license in 1992. Steve was a Founding Father of the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity at Binghamton. Steve grew up in Syosset, Long Island and currently lives with his wife and two daughters in Plainview, Long Island. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Plainview Little League and the NY Metro Long Island Alumni Chapter for Binghamton University. Other than family and work, Steve has a passion for coaching his daughters in softball and basketball and playing the drums in a local rock band.
Southerner at heart who calls New York home.
Amy O’Bannon is a veteran in the apparel industry with more than 19 years experience in sales, merchandising and account management. Prior to joining Winston, Ms. O’Bannon was the Vice President of Sales at Lucky Brand Jeans from 2005- 2009 where she was instrumental in leading the successful men’s, women’s and children’s wholesale distribution business. Amy also held executive positions with Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and Dockers (a Division of Levi Strauss & Co.).
As Vice President of Account Management for Winston, Ms. O’Bannon manages the account management teams; building client strategy and merchandising solutions as well as managing the day-to-day operations for Winston’s NYC office. A former client of Winston, Ms. O’Bannon brings a unique perspective and wealth of experience to the table that ensures that client needs are met and exceeded.
My favorite bird is the loon.
Nic comes with over 12 years of design and retail industry experience with a focus on creative and visual merchandising services primarily within the apparel, footwear, and home industry, either working directly within brands, industry vendors, or multi-brand agencies.
Prior to joining Winston, Nic worked in multiple fashion and apparel companies including brands such as BCBG, Williams-Sonoma Inc, Forever 21, Miss Sixty, and A&F. He was a leader within the store design and visual merchandising divisions within these brands while focusing on building internal and external creative support to maximize brand integrity, company growth, and profitability. Nic is known for the ability to efficiently deliver results due to his keen attention to detail and adherence to responsibilities while building existing, new, and lasting relationships. His creative vision, persistence, and positive energy have driven his success.
I have visited 18 countries and counting.
Michelle Zolezzi, Senior Director of Account Management, leads the Account Management team on the West Coast and is based in our San Francisco office. Michelle joined Winston 9 years ago while bringing over 10 years of industry experience with her. She has held various management level and retail development roles with brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren. She has also hired, trained and lead teams of merchandisers to generate new sales, increase profits, and expand product shipments. Her prior experience includes new product and shop rollouts and visual display implementation, as well as space allocation, analysis, and negotiation.
Having worked at several home and apparel brands herself, Michelle has a keen understanding of our clients’ needs, which has allowed her to quickly turn their opportunities into successes stories at retail. Her responsibilities at Winston include overseeing the Account Management team, managing all West Coast clients, strategy development, and business management.
Little known fact, I can drive a tractor and pick corn.
Andrew hails from vertical retail most recently at LVMH Donna Karan since 2008 where he operationally ran their retail stores both domestically and internationally. Andrew delivered field insights to all the cross functional departments within the company on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. He also developed promotions for the field organization to drive productivity and lead team training and development for various levels of personnel across the retail stores. Previous to his most current role he also held positions as a New Store Opening Coordinator during a surge of expansion, where he implemented process improvements and reductions of cost that directly affected the P & L of the company. He created the visual standards guideline that was leveraged across all retail locations and translated the selling philosophy from full price to the outlet model.
Prior to his roles at LVMH Donna Karan, Andrew was a Distribution Planner at The Gap and a General Manager of a Gap multi-unit location. Andrew also was a campus recruiter for Sapient at the beginning of his career in Ivy League and East Coast Universities.
Wanderlusting mother of two.
Prior to joining Winston Retail in 2010, Eva had sixteen years of experience in Wholesale Apparel Sales working for two industry giants at the time: Jones Apparel Group and Liz Claiborne Inc. She began her career at Jones Apparel Group fresh out of college with a passion for fashion and ultimately worked in various divisions within the organization: Jones Studio, Jones NY Sport, and finally as the Women’s Sales Director for their Polo Jeans Co. division.
Additionally Eva spent 5 years at Liz Claiborne Inc. as the Women and Men’s sales director for the Lucky Brand Jeans division under the leadership of Winston Retail’s current Senior Vice President of Account Management, Amy O’Bannon. Eva brings a strong understanding of what it takes to drive both top and bottom line results in the highly competitive environment of the department store channel.
Taught Taekwondo for kicks.
John Bautista has over 20 years of experience building & managing sales and operational departments in various industries including staffing & recruiting, employment advertising, broadcast television and entertainment. Prior to Winston, John worked as an Account Manager for The Creative Group (a division of Robert Half International) where he was responsible for business development, client relations, recruiting, and placement of marketing, advertising, & creative design professionals.
As the Director of Recruiting & Staffing at Winston, John manages two operational departments responsible for sourcing, hiring and placing candidates. Over the course of a decade, this guy has been fortunate enough to assemble a team of seasoned recruiting & staffing professionals who successfully match the best creative, merchandising, and sales talent with Winston’s world renowned brands.
Obsessed with cookbooks and kitchen gadgets.
Chris Bolton began his retail career as a holiday floater at Macy’s Serramonte. After several years on the sale floor he wound up in Operations, managing the Customer Service and Cash Office at Macy’s Union Square. From there he went on to work at CNET, managing several categories at Download.com and ultimately coding web pages as a Technical Producer. It is at Winston where Chris has successfully merged these two career paths as Director of Information Management.
I live for 70's disco.
David Rivera has been in the retail industry for 26 years. He began his career at the early age of sixteen back in his hometown of Ontario, California, where he worked at a popcorn cart. It was the 80’s and during the inception of the American Mall Blueprint that continues to drive the industry today. David recognized his passion for popular culture and consumer experience as a young man and never looked back, moving full-steam ahead into the retail world.
As you can imagine, that popcorn cart was quickly replaced with management and buying positions at retail giants such as Nordstrom’s, Z-Gallerie and Macy’s as his career advanced. David later joined the Retail Development team at Levi’s Strauss & Co. and continued there until coming on board here at Winston at its inception.
I collect Chuck Taylor sneakers.
Evina’s first experience in retail merchandising was during an internship with Tommy Hilfiger as an Assistant Sales Coordinator in the Philadelphia area. After graduating from Philadelphia University, she became an Executive Trainee in Product Development with Macy’s Merchandising Group (MMG). While at MMG she was a Product Assistant in Charter Club knits and an In-Store Merchandiser for Charter Club Home, Hotel Collection, Martha Stewart Collection, and Style&Co. Home. She left MMG to work at Mavi Jeans where she carried out various roles as a Retail Coordinator, Retail Team Merchandising Manager, Junior Account Executive, and Store Manager for the NYC Mavi Jeans flagship store.
What Evina loves most about working in account training at Winston is being a resource for the field team. She enjoys helping them with their execution in any way she can because she remembers how it feels to be working in the field and how crucial the execution of a presentation is to both the client and customer.
I grew up on Lucas Lane.
Emily has had first-hand career experience in the retail industry since she was sixteen years old. Prior to joining the Winston team, she managed The New York Running Company, a large retail store in the Time Warner Building that’s considered to be one of the largest running stores in the nation. In November of 2010, Emily came on board here at Winston as the Staffing Manager for the Northeast and soon after transitioned into the role of the Field Training Manager in that same territory. She has since rejoined the Staffing Team and is pumped to be back on the operational side of Winston!
Reached highest level in Girl Scouts.
Mandy’s career spans back to a summer she spent interning at the Atlanta Apparel Mart where she was first introduced to the fashion industry in an intern role. During her college days, she worked as a bra specialist at Victoria’s Secret where she continued to learn more about the retail experience. With college behind her, she changed up her role a bit to become an assistant buyer for a mom and pop boutique in Jackson, Mississippi, and later expanded her role on the buying side to the Dallas, Atlanta, and New York Markets.
Not stopping there, she found herself in Los Angeles where she worked as in retail management for Nicole Miller and Bebe. Before joining Winston, she went on to become a Better Sportswear buy for Robinsons May.