How 4 Career Changers Found Their Calling
Tammy Mack-Lowe, 35
New York City
Tammy Mack-Lowe can remember every detail of the outfit she put together for the first day of first grade: red denim genie pants with elastic at the ankles, a blue Members Only jacket ("zipped all the way up"), and beaded sandals with cork wedge heels.
Her Wall Street Years
The 6-year-old fashionista grew up to be an investment banker—for a while, anyway. After college, she took a job at Chase and spent ten years in the foreign exchange and commodities group, where colleagues were always raving about her style—and she was always making suggestions about theirs.
As the market took a downturn, Mack-Lowe was offered the option of a severance package; she combined it with her savings to strike out as a stylist and personal shopper. "This was a chance to do what I've always loved: pay attention to people's ensembles and help them get it together."
Depending on the day, Mack-Lowe might be coordinating an entertainment lawyer's Grammy-week garb, making sure a model's dress hangs perfectly at a photo shoot, or dragging ten shopping bags through Brooklyn on a Sunday evening alongside a commodities trader hoping to resuscitate her look in time for Monday morning. "As a woman's lifestyle changes—she gets married, has children, her career advances—she has less time to maintain her wardrobe, yet she's required to look a certain way," Mack-Lowe says.
"There's a hierarchy in a corporation—you know where you stand. But in your own business, sometimes you're meeting with CEOs, and sometimes you're taking out the trash. You have to be disciplined—and suspend your ego."
— Andrea Lynch