As a fashion merchandising major at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, Megan Dunbar, 22, figured she was preparing for a career in couture. During internships at high-end retailers, she tried everything from visual merchandising to styling.
But it wasn’t just the glamor of the fashion industry that attracted Dunbar. This fashionista, who describes her style as heavy on neutrals with a nod to trends, also has a passion for Mother Earth.
She became an environmentalist as a college freshman. “Sustainability was the center of everything we did,” she said. “Especially in my major, we consistently focused on how to shrink our environmental footprint. The industry is the second-largest polluter in the world.”
In college, Dunbar discovered she wanted a career that allowed her to make a difference for the planet. She never thought it would be at a home improvement retailer.
The native of Vale, North Carolina wanted to work for a company whose values aligned with hers. Environmental responsibility and a social conscience were non-negotiables.
Dunbar “applied everywhere,” she said. In interviews, she always asked about the company’s sustainability policies. To her dismay, she learned that only a select few companies in the apparel industry “preached these values in their everyday work life.”
“One day, as I was searching for careers online in merchandising, I came across Lowe’s social responsibility report and felt instantly connected.”—Megan Dunbar
No company matched her values as well as Lowe’s did.
So long, fashion. Hello, fescue!
She started with Lowe’s in Mooresville, North Carolina last May as a merchandising intern supporting the Lawn & Garden department. Within her first month, she helped pack disaster relief buckets for customers affected by hurricanes, planted flowers at a local VA center and more.
She appreciates being able to make a difference on the local – as well as global – level. “I knew Lowe’s helped with disaster relief,” she said. “But I never knew that as a whole corporate office we’d … build bunk beds and homes for Habitat.”
She joined the company full-time in August in a position that actually makes good use of her degree. She’s a merchandising specialist in Millwork.
At Lowe’s, she said, employees care about products put into their stores, who’s making them, how they’re made and what happens to them at the end of their lifecycle.
Dunbar sees Lowe’s as a place she can build a career. “The company cares about its people,” she said. “Wherever you want to go in this company, it can take you there. There’s so much opportunity for growth.”
Best of all, Lowe’s turned out to be Dunbar’s first-choice employer. She got a job offer for what had been her dream job – working as a buyer in designer dresses for a big fashion retailer. And turned it down.
“What I was looking for in a company, I found here,” she said. “It’s not what I thought I would be doing. But it ended up being the dream job.”