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Everyday Etiquette

Introduction to Ms. Carey


Etiquette has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. My mother was a great student of doing things the proper way, and this has always been a part of my life. The Emily Post Book of Etiquette was right next to Webster's Dictionary in our home.

My husband and I have compared notes and realized that these things were of paramount importance in his family also. We both went to cotillion classes in junior high school as did our sons. The same things were taught to both generations - basic ballroom dancing, how to introduce someone, table manners and the proper way to set a table, how to serve punch to a date (gentlemen) and so on. Some of this has proved useless, but the majority of these skills have been valuable in our lives.

Many life experiences have required reliance on what I was taught, but also have led to my reaching for the etiquette book. Let me give you a few examples, such as planning my wedding, burying my parents, writing thousands of thank you notes, hosting my kids' birthdays, organizing their graduation events and helping to plan their weddings. It's amazing how etiquette and graciousness walk hand in hand through one's life.

I have been in the stationery, invitation, etiquette business for 23+ years. I began a cottage stationery and invitation business in Pennsylvania in 1985. After a move to Indiana, I opened a personalized stationery, invitation and gift store in a suburb of Indianapolis (1990). My entire staff was trained in wedding, party and personal correspondence etiquette. I became known as an etiquette resource and often got calls from brides who were not my customers with wedding etiquette questions. These ranged from how to address and stuff invitation envelopes, when to mail them and how to help them correct mistakes that were made by other merchants. My customer base stretched from coast to coast. Besides running a retail store, I wrote articles for a local paper on the art of letter writing and etiquette. In the mid 1990's, I began to do some consulting for stationery companies. American Stationery was my first client. I retired from retail sales in 2005, leaving my business in good hands. To this day, it is still thriving, and I frequently get calls to help people with their wedding and party invitations.

After being retired for about 10 seconds, I ramped up my consulting business on a weekly basis with American Stationery. My tasks for them have been varied, but my knowledge of etiquette and the proper way to do things has been a resource for AmStat and something I have begun sharing via their blogs. I have also done many consulting projects for other companies in the stationery and invitation industry. Event planning entered my life when I was asked by a local not-for-profit to organize and implement their annual gala. I did this for three years and decided I would rather concentrate on my stationery clients.

This is just a small window into my background. My mother always said, "It's not proper to brag, but it's OK to toot your own horn!"