What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

JANUARY 2023 NOTE: I will forever strive to honor the legacies of Viola Hawes and Furious Styles via my business and personal choices. I'm pretty sure both of them would be in favor of my making a sound business decision, and I'm pretty sure changing our company name to undergoodies is just that. These garments are innovative - and a bit of an overhaul of the way many people have worn underthings their whole lives - so we've found we've got some educating to do out there about these revolutionary - and good - underthings. While we're keeping the name "Furious Viola" close and ready for future endeavors (stay tuned!), undergoodies school starts with our new name now, as of January 2022, "undergoodies." And yes, I capitalize the word Love and I don't capitalize the word undergoodies. Our new site is undergoodies.com. (You don't need to click that - you're already here!) and our social media names are undergoodies, too. Stay comfy, my friends!


Welcome to Furious Viola! 

"LOL Curious What!?"

I tried to be a corporate something and another, which is what I thought I was supposed to do, but I was uncomfortable. I didn't understand nor care for the politics. I just wanted to know that everyone had had a good breakfast and felt well. Discomfort can be a great teacher. I didn't know that for a while - I thought there was something wrong with me. I made the best of it over the years. It wasn't all bad; I learned and grew in ways I surely needed to, I honed and uncovered skills, and I earned some accolades. I often mitigated my misfitness by working for non-profits with people who still amaze me, and together we did some serious good in the world. I certainly made lifelong friends. 

And during that time - which sometimes involved uncomfortable things, from pantyhose to a boss walking through an office saying "Y'all need to wear shorter skirts!" to an office full of women - at some point I began to learn to listen to what discomfort was telling me.  I listen now.

For one thing, I just won't wear uncomfortable clothes. I'm from and have lived mostly in the South. It gets hot. It gets humid. It's good for our skin. It's not so good for the layered look most of the year. At some point I thought, "Let's eliminate a layer!"  which is how we got here. More on that later ...

The name "Furious Viola" usually begets a strong reaction. Once in a while it's something like, "What?! That sounds weird," but more often it's "Wow! I love it! It makes you look twice, and it's fun."  The name is deeply personal to me. Here's its etymology. Can I use "etymology" when explaining a business name?

Furious comes from one of my favorite movie characters, Furious Styles. I actually started out intending to name my business Furious Styles - and not believing that the only business I could find with that name was a barber shop in Georgia. How is every business that has to do with any kind of style not named this!? (Great name, Furious Styles in Georgia! I love it!) His words to the boys and neighbors standing in the empty lot; in my memory, that speech was about 20 minutes long. It's actually under 4 minutes long. I suppose I remembered it that way either because it made such a huge impression on me at the time, and/or I've conflated it with another on-screen scene when I learned about institutional racism and community inequities. I'm not sure. I am sure I was left with huge admiration for the character and what he taught me, in his patient, calmly furious grace, in that scene and others. Fury, like his friend Discomfort, can be a great teacher. I love that I now see and say a reminder of his name every day, because he resides in my mind as a constant reminder of what I don't know, even when I try hard and mean well. 
There was also a show I watched on television when I was very little. I barely remember it, except for it being called "Fury," it being about a black horse named Fury, and the feelings I had, seeing that horse run freely, sleek and strong ... and free.

Viola is the first name of my beautiful, stylish, strong Grammy.  Viola Curti Hawes was an irresistible mix of glamour, and style, and smarts, and wit, and ingenuity. She always beat everyone in the family at Scrabble, usually scoring at least one 7-letter 50-point word per game. She was a skilled bargain hunter who often set her sights on sales at Neiman Marcus. She wore lipstick to the mailbox. She brought homemade frozen margaritas (in her 70s at the time) to my going away party when I was off to California. She subscribed to Popular Mechanics magazine, and she designed and built her own pear picker to use in her back yard in Arkansas. (Mind you, she didn't move to Arkansas until she was 75 years old.) She won a golf tournament on her 80th birthday (pictured here, in a OOAK sweater she embellished with appliques like the ones you're about to know). She once told me, after I'd moved back home to Arkansas after a layoff, the biggest break up of my life, and her own cancer diagnosis, that she'd spent all afternoon "looking through magazines for a picture of a horse's backside" to cut out and paste over my ex's face in our photograph on her refrigerator. She too was furious that day ... in her calm, grace-filled, adorable, beautifully-channeled way. I got a lot of time with her after that diagnosis and my move home, some of it giggling at "Tom & Jerry" in the middle of the night from her glamorous king-sized bed. I hope I make her proud with this endeavor.

Now I'm my own little limited liability "corporate thing." And it's almost my whole job description to make sure you are comfortable. Which works well, because I want to know that you had a good breakfast and feel well.  Sometimes we need to change ourselves to get comfortable. Sometimes we need to change our surroundings. I hope I can help you change your most intimate surroundings ...

I'm working hard to make beautiful, comfortable underthings that, like the name Furious Viola, are mash-ups of tradition with some street smarts, evolution, and some playfulness. I'm always open to learning more and making them better, always doing so as sustainably as I can, with harm to none, and hopefully, with a lot of love and laughter. 

Let's get you comfortable, so you can go out there and do what you are meant to do, and perhaps inspire someone to name a business after you.