The first store Willow and Georgi planned to open together was going to sell clothes for their My Little Pony collection, beaded bracelets they’d strung themselves, and candy, but only Nerds and Skittles, no licorice (blech!). Their moms said no, so they set up a lemonade stand and raised $5 for the Humane Society until a mean cop shut it down for causing a traffic hazard on Sir Francis Drake.
The second store Willow and Georgi wanted to open together — and this time they were really serious – was going to sell records and cassette tapes they’d found in their attics, six kinds of incense, and scarves and belts sewn from old batik bedspreads. Their moms said no, so they held a sale during homeroom at Drake and raised $150 for the Marine Mammal Rescue Center until crabby Mr. Price shut it down for being against school policy.
In 1999, Georgi emailed Willow from her hotel in Paris while traveling post-graduation with He-who-shall-not-be-named (No… not that one, Hermoine.) to rave about the shops in the Marais. Were they ever going to open their store together? Willow, who was in Miguel de San Allende working on a asparagus farm for a women’s collective and could only check her AOL account once a week by putting ten pesos in a machine at the coffee shop and waiting for the dial tone, eventually wrote back but forgot to answer the question.
And these are only the attempts worth repeating….
As you might have guessed by now, these two lifelong fictional friends having come to their senses and settled back in paradise (aka Ross Valley), and no longer needing their mothers’ permission, have finally bundled their savings and gathered the courage to open a store. Their values have evolved along with their sense of style, and even though they would be the first to tell you that they are very different people, they are in total agreement about four things:
Joy is a verb not a noun, Georgi says, and you have a choice every day to make joy happen for those around you. She wants a visit to Georgi & Willow to be a buoyant experience of finding one-of-a-kind treasures and feeling uplifted through the act of helping others. Willow finds joy in the burble of the creek, the call of the red-wing blackbird, and the “ooh” of someone seeing herself in the mirror wearing something amazing they would never have found at Nordstrom.
Georgi & Willow is 100% non-profit, with proceeds supporting the mission of the local Goodwill chapter in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. Willow and Georgi love Goodwill. Goodwill opens doorways to jobs for local people in need through job training and placement, life-skills coaching, computer literacy classes, and more.
In the past 12 months, more than 575 people started earning a paycheck thanks to Goodwill, and they readied another 7,000 to rejoin the job market. Funding for Goodwill programs and services comes from selling gently used donations, in this case the best of things donated to Goodwill, ruthlessly curated to be right for Marin.
Willow especially loves the role Goodwill plays in helping make Marin one of the greenest counties in the nation. Each year, the local Goodwill diverts more than 20 million tons from Bay Area landfills — enough to fill San Anselmo Avenue storefronts up to the second-story windows (or so she imagines).
Learn more at http://SFGoodwill.org
Willow and Georgi want San Anselmo to retain its small town-ness, where everyone pitches in to help local business and culture thrive. That’s why Georgi & Willow hires Marin craftspeople and vendors, partners with other businesses along San Anselmo Avenue, and will make a $10,000 grant to the community through the S.A. Chamber of Commerce.
To celebrate local artists, Georgi & Willow also hosts a revolving art exhibit in the main window at the front of the store. Bay Area environmental artists use the space to showcase their work, the raw material for which is sourced through the local Goodwill chapter. Every six to eight weeks, the store hosts another opening. To find out who’s next, Like Georgi & Willow on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Sitting high in a live oak tree behind her parents’ house, Willow and Georgi hooked their pinkies as eight-year-olds and promised to be friends forever. Now as women who have weathered lifetimes together, they know a few things about staying close. “You can’t pick your family,” Georgi says, “but you can pick your friends.” Willow finishes, “And eventually your friends become your family anyway.” You can become a Georgi & Willow Friend on Facebook and visit the store to see how you can qualify for a Friendshop card.