By Ryan Velez
Etiquette may seem a bit old-fashioned for some people, but in a business world where first impressions are gold and a personal connection can make the difference when it comes to a successful deal, managing social graces is still an important term. With the help of Facebook Live, Misty Harris, the director and owner of Texas Etiquette, has managed to expand her business beyond its local reach, and she recently interviewed with Black Enterprise to share how it came to be.
Interestingly, Harris has been a woman of many careers before launching this venture. “I went to school for architecture. Then, I ended up going to school to become a midwife. Then, I trained to be a Montessori teacher. I knew that whatever I did, I had to be able to take it with us because we’re a military family. I have five children. I needed to be able to work on the schedule of the children and make an extra income, so I realized I needed to work for myself.” When she moved to England, she became saturated with etiquette, and would get a Canadian certification before finishing off her education there.
While Texas Etiquette is doing well, Harris does have some mistakes she made early on that she shares with entrepreneurs to help them on their paths. “I learned the lesson that just because you have access to money doesn’t mean you should spend it. I did spend a little more than I should have with my business loan. My husband is a tightwad who always told me I shouldn’t spend more than I make. He always told me that if I had the money for it, I should pay for it outright and be done with it. Having him in the background helps a lot with me not going over my budget or my credit limit.” There’s another lesson here, the value of support, whether they are directly from employees or mentors or just skilled loved ones and friends who want to help you succeed.
On top of classes over Facebook live, Harris has other plans to grow Texas Etiquette, starting with a formal online class. “I put 70,000 miles on my car teaching. The demand is there. People want these classes and need these classes and see the benefit. But, I can’t do it all and be everywhere,” she says. To this end, her Elementary Etiquette class will have a recorded lesson and a live lesson every week, as well as packets via mail. In the spring, she will hold tea parties online, allowing her to have a good discussion with her students while putting their etiquette lessons into practice.