Goodwill Industries, known for its job-training programs and bare-bones thrift stores, is trying something new: a trendy, one-of-a-kind boutique in San Anselmo (Marin County). But don’t look for a Goodwill sign on the storefront: the shop will be called Georgi & Willow.
The new store will sell men’s and women’s clothing and housewares “curated” (vogue word alert!) from other Goodwill stores in the Bay Area. A message on an interior wall will let shoppers in on the store’s connection to the parent organization.
Of course, the initials of “Georgi & Willow” are another clue. But there’s more to the name story, according to the San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch:
The boutique’s title [sic] combines the names of two fictional Marin County women. … Organizers have developed an elaborate Georgi and Willow backstory, with details including how the two characters met - they became friends at a young age and went to Sir Francis Drake High School.
The Georgi & Willow Twitter profile reveals a little more about the characters (punctuation sic):
Georgi is sophisticated, well-traveled, with a dressy personal style while Willow is a natural, practical, trail lover!
The boutique concept is new, but this isn’t Goodwill’s first foray into creative naming. Back in 2007, I wrote about William Good, a joint venture between Goodwill and Nick Graham, founder of the men’s-underwear company Joe Boxer. That collaboration—which didn’t involve brick-and-mortar stores—seems to have quietly dissolved.
The Georgi & Willow name recycles a well-worn retail and fashion trend: the “X&Y” formula. I wrote about many of those compound names—Judith & Charles, Elizabeth & James, Rag & Bone, Soia & Kyo, et al.—in a May 2010 post.
In a video on the San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch site, Georgi & Willow brand director Tim Murray tells the story behind the name.
Georgi is the glossy, sophisticated, well-traveled, beautiful woman who, frankly, other women are a little jealous of from afar, but when they meet her she's so personal [sic] she makes them feel like they're the only person in the room and they really come to lover her. She's a real people person. She cares very much about giving people second chances, which is why she is supporting the local Goodwill chapter through George & Willow.
Willow, on the other hand, is that very practical, earthy Marin County woman who would rather be hiking on Mount Tam [Tamalpais] and gardening than doing anything else. She has her hair pulled back in a ponytail, she doesn't wear any makeup or fingernail polish, and what she really cares about is the environment.
Hat tip: Diane Fischler.