You hear of etiquette and think why anyone would need training to learn things that would otherwise fall under common sense. A seemingly overwhelming term, etiquette is an important skill to master in the increasingly small world we're living in. From social to professional settings, The House of Etiquette is working on turning the misconception around. Khaleejesque caught up with the graceful ladies to tell us more about the world of etiquette.
The House of Etiquette was established by Bibi Al-Ghanim and Ma’ab Al-Qassem, based on their joint passion for etiquette and their investment in the field of education, as well as the importance placed on furthering etiquette studies in Kuwait. Fully certified instructors, both Bibi and Ma’ab are eager to bring their skills to their students, using examples taken from every day social situations and professional day-to-day experiences to train and educate.
Bibi Al-Ghanim is a young woman whose life-long interests lie within the etiquette world. She holds a Masters degree in Education Management from Kings College London and a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Richmond, the American International University in London. Bibi has nearly six years of experience in the field of education, where she has been an active participant in academic and personal counseling in addition to instilling leadership skills in students. All of these experiences have developed further into the notion of etiquette. Looking closer at her upbringing, it is no wonder that Bibi is very much dedicated to learning the intricacies of etiquette, and teaching its core values, to her students.
Ma’ab Al-Qassem comes to the realm of etiquette with a plethora of background within the corporate field. She has over five years experience within corporate and international banking, where etiquette is key. Ma’ab holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Richmond, the American International University in London. Furthermore, Ma’ab holds numerous certifications in NLP, Negotiation Skills, and Management Skills. All of these certifications, work experience and her degree, built towards the skills required to develop the strength of etiquette. Additionally, having lived in London for seven years, the fine details of etiquette now come naturally to Ma'ab!
Khaleejesque Team: How did you come about the "House of Etiquette" idea?
House of Etiquette: Our idea was a past reality… we just brought it back to life again… but with a twist!
Approximately over 12 years ago, Bibi's mother Ms. N. offered etiquette courses in dining and social etiquette for students at the Universal American School and other interested children. The courses were very popular and were offered for six consecutive years. UAS was expanding at the time, and unfortunately after six years of successful etiquette graduates, the program came to an end due to Ms. N's overwhelming commitment to the her school.
Ma'ab's mother Ms. Z. was as passionate about etiquette as Ms.N. and offered her friends and family with social and dining etiquette advice and support. Her 'words of wisdom' in the numerous forms of etiquette was highly appreciated and accepted.
We both lived in a world filled with the codes of etiquette and cultural awareness. Living and studying in London further enhanced our knowledge of upbringing in the field. We always participated in courses which revolved around the forms of Art de Vivre and used our time to visit countries which appreciated the forms of classical arts and finesse.
Over two years ago, Ms. N. and Ms. Z. felt it was time to encourage us to re-launch etiquette courses in Kuwait. It was the perfect timing… UAS moved to a new campus, self-interest and self-training was at its peak from our mothers, research in the area of education and etiquette had taken place and finally culminated in a certification and training program with London's finest school – Minding Manners Limited, International Etiquette and Protocol Academy of London. Exclusive licencing for The State of Kuwait from Minding Manners was attained to offer our clients with an educational etiquette program which would provide them with knowledge and confidence to last them a lifetime.
KT: Why etiquette? And what makes it so important in our modern society?
HE: Our mothers always state that 'etiquette is an attitude'. True it is an upbringing, but if your attitude is not in place, your etiquette isn't. We are here today to provide a service to society, a serve which will self-enhance ones image. Etiquette is an education which is an important part of self improvement. In The House of Etiquette, Kuwait we will support and educate our clients to become more comfortable and confident through the teachings of etiquette. Etiquette is a comfort, and we are not here to intimidate, we are here to educate!
An additional importance of etiquette lies within the fact that Etiquette is key to being a successful leader. In order to be a successful leader one has to reach social comfort when surrounded by a large party of people. According to Dr Bella De Paulo's People Often Can't Jugde How They Impress Others, '40% of all adults have social anxiety, and 75% of all adults experience anxiety at a party with strangers. '
KT: What inspired you to dive into the field of "Etiquette"?
HE: Our mothers were a key inspiration. They welcomed us into the world of etiquette and taught us how to appreciate its forms. In addition, we both completed our education in London, UK and during our education there, we learned to appreciate the forms of etiquette. London is a city filled with multi-cultural differences and living in such an atmosphere further broadened our horizon of cultural etiquette.
Due to our understanding, experiences and coaching in etiquette throughout childhood and now adulthood we thus appreciate the importance of etiquette in society. We wanted to share our knowledge and passion for etiquette and to further expand what our mothers had started over 12 years ago.
KT: Is there a need or demand for etiquette in Kuwaiti Society?
HE: There will always be a need and demand for etiquette worldwide. All societies develop and enhance, and etiquette will always develop within a society.
In Kuwait, cultural societies are increasing and it is crucial to appreciate and understand the different codes within each culture. Kuwait is a nation which enjoys social events whether locally or internationally, and instilling social grace and awareness in oneself is an asset to self-improvement. In addition, Kuwait has always been a business hub for trade and so forth, therefore proper cultural business protocol is in need. The House of Etiquette does not present itself as a judgemental service, but instead a service which can provide social and professional development to its interested clients.
KT: As an Etiquette Instructor, what do you feel is one key area that locals have to work on?
HE: One answer was requested… but we felt there were three crucial areas which required attention…
1. Dining Etiquette,
2. First Impressions – (Social Etiquette),
3. Business Etiquette & Protocol.
KT: What does the House of Etiquette offer to potential students?
HE: Our services range from focusing on the arts and social graces surrounding poise and social manners to the forms of dining etiquette and other essential forms of life-skills.
KT: Who are your target customers?
HE: For the first 6 months we are targeting children between the ages of 5-12 years. Yet, we currently are offering private sessions for interested young adults (ages 15-20) and adults (21+). In the very near future, we will be offering a plethora of courses for all ages. We have loads to offer!
KT: What's in the future for the "House of Etiquette"?
HE: The House of Etiquette is built on the foundation of education. Education develops rapidly and efficiently as will The House of Etiquette. We see our center develop into an essential factor of etiquette education where in which our nation would consider it to be an asset to society.
Interested in brushing up your etiquette skills? More information is available on the website. Registration forms are available online. Or call them on 99699485 or 9901733, all days/hours. Sunday-Tuesday Afternoons & Saturday Mornings: 22651952 ext. 10
The House of Etiquette Kuwait, is located in the Universal American School, Hawalli Area, 3rd ring road, opposite Qadsiya Area. Our Opening hours for May – June: Saturday 9:00am-1:00pm /Sunday-Tuesday 2:30pm-6:30pm. Opening hours in July are on Saturdays-Tuesdays from 9:00am-3:00pm.
Images courtesy of The House of Etiquette.