Goodwill is opening a new boutique – the first of its kind – in downtown San Anselmo this month. But you didn’t hear that here.
Georgi and Willow’s tie to Goodwill Industries is something organizers want shoppers to discover themselves, after they enter the San Anselmo Avenue boutique. Inside Georgi and Willow, writing on the wall will let shoppers in on a “secret,” revealing that the nonprofit shop benefits Goodwill.
The boutique, which caters to Marin women, will feature trendy women’s and men’s apparel, as well as home goods, gifts and a few things for kids, according to Tim Murray, the brand director for Georgi and Willow.
Most of the items in the store will be sourced from Goodwill stores in the Bay Area.
“The concept is really driven by a very high level of curation,” Murray said. “With an eye toward things that are on trend, seasonally appropriate and that are just really cool.”
Georgi and Willow is a new addition to a family of Goodwill shops that include the Goodwill Boutiques and the Goodwill stores with general merchandise (such as the shops in San Rafael and Novato).
“Unlike a Goodwill Boutique that is very much driven by a particular series of designer labels, Georgi and Willow is driven by the silhouette, the cut, the quality, the finish, the overall look and how it all pulls together,” Murray said.
The space, at 649 San Anselmo Avenue, was converted from two shops into one. The project has been in the works for more than nine months, Murray said.
“We felt this part of Marin was underserved when it came to well-priced and repurposed clothing,” Murray said.
The store’s 18-foot-long front windows will host a revolving art exhibit, changing every six to eight weeks. The local artists selected to fill the space are required to use items sourced from Goodwill.
The boutique’s title combines the names of two fictional Marin County women. (Murray describes the two archetypes of Georgi and Willow in the video at the top right.) 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 store will work to foster friendships, Murray said, in part by an iPad-based camera system encouraging people to take their pictures while shopping. Special discounts will also be offered for friends shopping together, he said.
Goodwill offers job-training services in the Bay Area
All of the 165 Goodwill chapters in North America provide job training and other resources based on a particular community’s needs. The local Goodwill chapter, which encompasses San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, serves a population that could be previously incarcerated, formerly homeless, coming out of addiction and recovery or learning English as a second language, Murray said. “It’s a population with high barriers to employment and, in many cases, some of these folks have never worked.”
Services Goodwill offers include computer training, resume writing, interviewing basics and other life skills some may need, ranging from how to read a bus schedule to employment basics, such as showing up on time, Murray said.
Usually people working in a Goodwill store are enrolled in the company’s training programs.
Goodwill store sales provide 80 percent of the funding for such programs and services, according to Murray.
In addition to Goodwill stores and boutiques, the Bay Area also has two “as-is” Goodwill outlets, one in San Francisco and the other in Burlingame, Murray said. There’s also the thriving e-commerce site, Goodwillexpress.com, which is the best source of revenue for Goodwill, Murray said.