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The Etiquette Factory

The-Etiquette-FactoryThis month Everything Knoxville is pleased to feature the nation’s leader in etiquette education, The Etiquette Factory, and its founder, Monica Irvine.

A mother of three and a home schooler, Monica’s interest in children’s etiquette was fostered by her deep personal belief that children need to be educated in the art of etiquette that will not only benefit them in their youth, but that helps ensure their future success in their adult lives and in their careers.

While originally targeting children, The Etiquette Factory has expanded its curriculum to include both schools and workplace professionals. A certified etiquette instructor and master motivator, Monica teaches children, adolescents, and professionals the value of integrity, character, work ethic, personal initiative, and professionalism.

EK: What inspired you to create The Etiquette Factory?

Monica: For starters, I have three boys. Need I say more? Honestly, one day several years ago my son and I were studying about the life of George Washington. We learned that when he was a young teen, his mentor encouraged him to memorize a list of chivalry skills, which he did. I was so fascinated by this, because I knew President Washington was known for his chivalry, and this was a light bulb moment for me. I thought that if I could create a simple, fun program that broke manners down into “bite size” pieces of information, maybe it could really make a difference with my three boys and also others. So that’s what I did.

EK: What about The Etiquette Factory are you most proud of?

Monica: I love watching people, both children and adults, respond to learning these skills. I guess when I first started this company, my goal was to teach and motivate people to use manners and see the benefits that come when we strive to treat others in a way that shows we value them. I knew this was directly related to one’s personal happiness and professional success. I wasn’t aware that the other result that would happen, especially in children, was the change in their self-confidence when they learned these skills. I have had parents ask me, “How did you do in one week what we have been trying to do our child’s whole life… giving our child self-confidence?” My answer… they just needed more skills. I love watching that.

EK: Why do you think your summer manner’s camps have become so popular?

Monica: Because they’re fun! The children learn things they know and can feel will bring them happiness. The kids get so excited to go home to show and teach their families the things they’ve learned. I always laugh, because often a child will say something like, “Mrs. Irvine, I can’t wait to teach my mom and dad this because they’ve never learned this before. They’re going to be so happy.” I know that many of these children are taught these things by their parents, but sometimes when they hear it from someone besides mom and dad, it finally sinks in. My kids do this, too. Happiness truly is the result of learning these skills, and kids know it.

EK: What services does The Etiquette Factory offer adults and businesses?

Monica: We have eight professional workshops that focus on business etiquette, leadership, dining etiquette, professionalism, stress management, parenting, and so much more. These workshops literally can change the entire atmosphere of any business or family. They are a great way to help employees and individuals refine their skills of professionalism. With today’s competitive market, companies have to stand out from the rest, and the best way to do that is with customer service. It seems like more and more businesses today are more apathetic towards making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you do business with them. Personally, I like the warm and fuzzy approach. Yes, I also want excellence in products and services, but the warm and fuzzy is what brings me in the door and makes me want to stay long enough to see what a company has to offer. We teach companies how to show excellence in customer service, employee relations, and leadership.

EK: How can parents help transform their home atmosphere into a home where manners are the priority without correcting their children all day?

Monica: This is a great question. First, I hope they will come to one of our parenting workshops that we offer to churches, social groups, etc. Here they will learn techniques that will help them instill in their children a great love for manners. Sound impossible? It’s not. It’s all about the approach. It’s all about helping our children to see how having good manners and social skills positively effects every single aspect of our lives. If you like to get what you want, if you like to have great friends and healthy relationships, if you want to be professionally successful, this is how.

EK: It looks like The Etiquette Factory has expanded into other states and countries. Tell us about this.

Monica: Yes. I am so excited about the growth of The Etiquette Factory. We have EF owners in 14 states and seven countries, and we continue to grow. Basically, someone can get a license to operate an EF business in their community if their territory is open. Our owners have access to our EF camp program, professional training, product line, and much more. Some of our owners use their license to supplement their income, and some work the business full time. Here is one thing that I know. The world is “hungry” for help in this area. Parents, teachers, business owners, etc. from all around the world are calling and ordering products every week. Regardless of the country they live in, they see a decline in civility and see that it’s affecting their communities in many negative ways. It’s never too late to turn this around. That’s why at the EF, we focus on one child and one person at a time, because one person living a life of impeccable manners affects the lives of hundreds of people.

EK: How are schools taking advantage of your product line?

Monica: We are so excited to have launched our “Life Skills for You” online curriculum for grades 4 through 10. This curriculum is the missing link to a complete, well-rounded education. With 142 lessons on manners, integrity, character, leadership, empathy, anti-bullying, responsibility, and more, this curriculum is not only changing individual students, but it’s changing schools. The classes participate daily in 10 minute lessons accessible online, then each student completes a five minute homework assignment. It’s an easy sale to private schools, but our goal is to have it in public schools throughout the world. It really is making a difference, because it’s fun, very informative, and teaches students in a way that motivates them to put these skills to the test and see if using them really does work.

EK: Why do you believe society as a whole is becoming more uncivil?

Monica: Well, I believe many things are contributing to this. My list would include things such as a breakdown in family values, over zealous personal schedules that place all of us in over worked, over stressed, and over tired states of mind, and I think one of the major contributors is just a lack of quality time spent with our children in teaching moments. Many parents, for instance, pick up their children from school, rush to after school practices and programs, grab dinner at a drive thru, and then rush home for bed. This type of schedule doesn’t leave much time to sit, talk, teach, and play with our children in the spirit of growing their character. I believe if we would reduce our schedules and replace some of our children’s enrichment programs with time spent just talking and listening to them, we could use these moments for great opportunities to teach these life skills that are imperative for their personal and professional success.

EK: What do you think is the biggest mistake parents make when teaching their children manners?

Monica: I’m guilty of this, too, but most of us are tempted to only teach manners when we are correcting our children. For instance, we see our child do something that we think is rude, and we say, “Honey, that’s really rude. Don’t do that.” Our children then start to relate manners to getting fussed at a little. The best way to teach manners is to work on one skill at a time and teach it as if you were teaching a lesson. For example, perhaps this week we may work on cleaning up after ourselves first by talking about why this shows respect to those we live with, then outlining the plan for each family member to achieve this skill, and finally, creating an award system for success. Then, next week we focus on another skill, improving as we go along.

EK: How can people take advantage of all the services and products you’ve talked about?

Monica: The easiest way is to visit our website, Our summer 2014 manner’s camp schedule is already up with enrollments happening now. These camps always fill up with a waiting list, so enroll early. Businesses can go to our “Professional Services” page where they can see our professional workshops and then request an application and price sheet. Come and see what we have to offer. Whether you’re a youth group, parent group, girl scout troop, college class, or business, we can help.

To set up your free consultation, call 865-719-7302 or email

The Etiquette Factory

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