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Rising Stars: Meet Crystal L. Bailey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal L. Bailey.

Hi Crystal, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
As a kid, my mother would drag me to a neighbor’s home for Amway meetings that went on for hours. I would sneak off to the sitting room where there were these huge volumes of Miss Manners books. The books were compilations of write-in letters with 1950s housewives complaining of social faux pas and begging the assistance of the all-knowing Miss Manners. I was fascinated as I combed through the pages of these books. That was the first spark for me. After noticing my interest, my mother enrolled me in a manners course that was offered at the local department store.

Later, when I was in law school, at an etiquette dinner, I thought “I want to do this”. Looking back, I probably should have quit law school right then and there. I did not. As I looked into taking more etiquette courses, I realized that as a student, I was priced out of taking the courses I was interested in. So, I started ingesting all the etiquette knowledge I could on my own. Both my grandmother and mother are entrepreneurs, so I knew I needed to just dive in. Within a few years, I was able to go over to London study at Debrett’s and later to train with Etiquette à la Française.

It’s now unreal to celebrate ten years of The Etiquette Institute of Washington!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Before the pandemic, you would have NEVER offered etiquette training virtually. No one in the business did it. Now, it’s a staple of the training I offer along with many etiquette educators. I lead a 5-day virtual course, Presence & Politesse, which covers everything from social graces to executive presence. Wines are shipped to participants for our wine training and we finish the week with a virtual fine dining experience. Over the last two years, it’s allowed me to work with clients all over the US and as far as Thailand.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
For me, etiquette is not about perfection. It adjusts and evolves along with the times and that’s what has kept my interest over the past decade. Moreover, because of my range of clients, every week is new and exciting.

I provide etiquette training for children, teens and adults through in-home lessons, in-person, and virtual courses along with corporate and university training. Topics include Social Graces and Savoir Vivre, Executive Presence, Digital First Impressions, and Fine Dining Etiquette.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, in my etiquette classes, I was taught to be proper and demure with ankles crossed and hands in lap. And that is fantastic if you’re sipping tea on a wrap-around porch in the South, but not so great when you’re leading a team or running a meeting. Over time, I’ve learned to be a powerful presence. That’s something I also impart to the young ladies I work with enrolled in a year-long finishing school. You can have both an elegant and powerful presence.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
@belleimageryportraits Elena Felton Belle Imagery Portraits

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