Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Rey.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Carol. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My entire business existence began with an idea to change the look on t-shirts for my sorority while working as an educator. I was tired of seeing and buying the same style shirts (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.). I created and sold a line of t-shirts and accessories with the hope of going to our National meeting to get greater exposure back in 2008, but the people that I asked to invest in me were my parents, who by the way had a very successful business in Atlanta back in the 80’s, told me no.
My father asked me for a business plan and being an educator, I knew nothing about running a business. My father had no plans of helping me to learn about business and suggested that I learn on my own, trial and error. So, I sold my sorority items locally here in Atlanta, no website, just word of mouth, making phone class, house call, house shows, initiation ceremony events for my sorority, but I didn’t know anything about marketing or how to go about selecting or getting wholesale vendors. I made some money but lost more than I made.
After about 3 years of this, I decided to stop for a while and figure out what I was doing, what did and didn’t work and why and what I should do about it.
During my reflecting period of Gitzygalz, between 2009-2010, a sorority sister of mine was looking for an etiquette instructor to help teach a dining class to a group of young adults ages 18-24 because her partner that she normally worked with was unavailable. I volunteered because I was an educator and I was up for a challenge teaching that age group since I normally work and teach elementary school children. It seemed like fun and I was comfortable with the two different styles of dining.
I taught the class, had a ball while the students raved about how great their experience was and how I made things easy and fun to learn, I was even handed a check at the end which made me think about my future career in etiquette.
Well, the etiquette business got to me to thinking that maybe I should think of teaching etiquette classes, create t-shirts, sell jewelry that all women would want and not just for my sorority, but items that would promote being a lady. Etiquette seemed to appeal more to girls and women who expressed a sense of pride in being a lady and I loved that. This is where Glitzygalz made its debut as a place for etiquette, pearls, and ladylike apparel.
From there, I became certified as a children’s etiquette coach, I changed the look of my website, I promoted pearls and t-shirts with ladylike slogans such as “Pretty is as Pretty does”, Don’t be like the rest of them, Darling”. This new image was sparked by the onset of our society becoming less civil and seeing my students year after year coming in ill-prepared to learn, or were not taught basic manners that I was taught as a child which help me with my success in life. I wanted to do more than just teach math, reading. I wanted to help my students and other children.
I told a few friends about my certification and they immediately put me to work with their groups of children and from their mu etiquette business came to life. Since its inception in 2014, I have been teaching etiquette classes all over Atlanta. From working with the YMCA’s Teen Leadership Program to numerous girl groups and organizations. Debutantes, pageant girls, church groups as well as non-profit organizations support groups.
As a lifelong learner, I wanted to advance with my etiquette training so I obtained more training and certification in the etiquette of tea and corporate etiquette training from the Prestigious American School of Protocol during summer 2017. From there, I had to change the name of the etiquette portion of my business and that is how The Elite School of Etiquette came to be.
I have now incorporated traveling with The Elite School of Etiquette. I host tea parties, teach etiquette classes for everyone ages 7-adult. Focusing on character building, social and dining etiquette.
Things have moved rather quickly, we are now preparing for classes for the late winter for girls 7-12. “Pretty is as Pretty does workshop”. This workshop will be a 4, 1 and a half hour sessions in Tyrone Georgia. We are also planning for a Spring Tea, “A Royal Hat and Pearl Tea Party for the Ladies where they will learn about the etiquette of tea and a few dining skills tips in preparation for our trip to London/Paris for tea, We will also be registering ladies who would like to join us for 2019 on our 2nd Annual trip to London/Paris and Dubai for dinner.sightseeing and shopping. We will also be teaching etiquette classes to other groups and organizations around Atlanta throughout the year.
Last, We are in the beginning stages of starting a non-profit portion to The Elite School of Etiquette where we will provide character development as well as dining skill to underrepresented students in low socio-economic areas who are academically successful and have a promising future, We would also like to partner with other non-profit organization who would like to add etiquette and character development as part of their program.
We are ready to help bring civility back to our society and abroad. “Great manners and dining skills can take you places friends and family can’t.” Let The Elite School of Etiquette Get you there- Carol Rey
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My journey has not been the easiest. I have been through 2 marriages, both actually were blessings in disguise. The first allowed me to become a mother, the second one allowed me to develop my own personal relationship with God. So I am very thankful for both.
My son is my blessing, I had cancer years later after the birth of my son, stage 4, which then prevented me from having any more children. My second marriage was to a man of a different faith than the one I grew up with and making adjustments as quickly as he wanted caused me to turn inward to find my own inner strengths and not some outside force, I had to learn what faith really meant and how to listen to my spirit speaking to me or through others. It’s amazing how what you desire comes to you. God is in each one of us and I learned that we have everything we need inside of us…
Please tell us about Glitzygalz and The Elite School of Etiquette.
I have 2 businesses. Glitzygalz, LLC. She is a movement of being a lady. I promote a lot of my etiquette tips, quotes, sayings and ideas along with the sale of pearls and other things girlie things. I really specialize in pearls with this business. What sets Glitzygalzllc apart from anyone else is that I have a large selection of pearls and I have been around for a while and I am active with my community and sorority selling pearls.
I am most proud that I provide excellent customer service and quality prices for the items that I sell. I also show the ladies ways in which they can style their wardrobes to incorporate the pearl jewelry that makes them look trendy in such a classic piece. I focus not only on the everyday lady but Sorority girls too! I have pearls in many of the sorority’s colors and all are affordable.
The Elite School of Etiquette is also my pride and joy in that it allows me to use a God-given talent which is teaching. I love the fact that I have a lot of experience working with different types of people and etiquette breaks down lots of barriers and misconceptions that people have about civility. I specialize in Fine dining, but character development is just right on its heel. I am most proud of my company in that its black-owned and my reputation proceeds me on the quality of the program that I provide.
What sets me apart from anyone else is the fact that I am an educator for 22 years, I am also a former Atlanta Falcon Cheerleader, a member of other wonderful groups and organizations that work with the community. I love to cheer my students on to being their best and I am also a mini-celebrity in their eyes. I provide a quality hands-on program that is not dry, but engaging, memorable and impactful. Everyone leaves feeling like they are someone special and that it’s not about them, but how they make others feel being around them.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I think that I would have taken a few business courses just to become familiar with certain business terms and just how to run a business.
- Website: www.theeliteschoolofetiquette
- Phone: (678)907-3905
- Email: www.theeliteschoolofetiquette.com
- Instagram: @theeliteschoolofetiquette
- Facebook: The Elite School of Etiquette
- Other: www.glitzygalz.com