1. Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Laura Windsor, etiquette coach for the Chinese market, ex international model and lifestyle TV presenter.
I was educated at Downe House, the same private school as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge and was fortunate enough to receive my etiquette training from a former member of The Royal Household of Her Majesty the Queen.
2. Can you introduce your company?
Laura Windsor Etiquette Academy
3. Why did you set up the company? What is its mission?
In an increasingly competitive world, knowing how to behave both in a social and professional context has never been more important.
I help guide people through the rules, techniques and tricks that can enhance one’s business and social reputation, skills that help make a lasting impression with good old fashioned British civility, poise and charm.
I also help keep alive the rich history, customs and values of British Etiquette; and guide people through the essential rules of correct behaviour and demonstrate how ‘old fashioned’ values and customs can be adapted and are still relevant to the modern world.
4. What is your company profile?
People of all ages. my youngest student was 5 and the eldest 82! I’m still waiting for someone to beat that record on both sides, although recently there was a sleeping todler in one of my classes!
I primarily work with the Chinese market:
- from young girls wishing to be international models, students who moved to the UK a few years ago and are wanting to adopt an RP accent – the official BBC accent;
- those wishing to master the rules of the table in order to keep up with the Windsors and attend white tie events;
- business people who want to learn the lost tricks of canny human interaction that can help build rapport with clients, colleagues and dignitaries around the world,
- people who want to make a good, lasting impression in social settings, as well as nurture friendships with civility, charm and poise,
- those who want to experience the Dances and Balls as seen in the film Pride & Prejudice
- and people who want to laugh and learn about the colourful history, customs and quirky nuances of English afternoon tea etiquette.
5. I am very British but I’m also half Italian.
As a child, I spent many a summer in Sardinia, Italy, I was based in Milan when I was an international model, I’ve travelled extensively since I was a little girl and therefore do not view the Chinese from a Britsh perspective but from a global one.
I must say that they possess many values that are similar to the Italians; family is key, their kids are extremely important, they stick to their own, they are very curious and have a great work ethic (like the hard-working people from the Veneto area), they are easy to talk to, and know the meaning of duty.
I like to think that I’m British when it comes to Etiquette & Manners but have in some way inherited the passion and warmth,creativity and flexibility of the Italians.
6. Difficulties encountered
The language barrier – but that isn’t going to stop me.
I am resilient! Sometimes languge isn’t a problem – I’ve encountered kids that don’t speak English but let’s just say we understand each other.
7. success stories
I think my success stories have been the small things: seeing the sense of pride on a 6 year old’s face as he hold sup his certificate for the cameras, coming into the room and being told that I look like Anne Hathaway but am prettier (thank you – that made my day!),
seeing young adults having fun while they walk with a book on their head or learning how to shake hands like a professional, the silence that pervades the room when I start talking about the history of afternoon tea etiquette, and their energy, curisoity and focus, despite their having already seen 3 museums and goodness knows what else before coming to the session,
the laughter that is evoked when students try to catch a pea with their fork,
the ohh and ahhs that are emitted when I solve a theory about the proper way of doing something,
the messages that children leave me on my wechat after we’ve said goodbye,
the great questions the audience asks…
those are my success stories!
Yes! As a kid I prided myself on being the fastest runner! I have very long legs, so it does help! I am 5’9 and a half(1.76cm)!
I played netball, hockey, lacross (at Downe House), and tennis for my school. I was born in Wimbledon so tennis is almost in my blood.
I also played basketball semi-professionally in Milan, Italy, for a division 2 team. Being the tallest member of the team (the average height in Italy is about 5”4) was definitely a plus.
I was, also, fast and fit too. I also play squash. I practice Ashtanga yoga which helps me build strength both physically and mentally. And I love to scuba dive and water ski.
While I have not yet met the team(finally at the end of this month!) the impression I have is that the company is generous, amenable, curious, welcoming, they have created a community through sport, which in my opinion, is the healthiest and most fun way of meeting people.
When we are playing sports， we are truly ourselves with no barriers, no pretence. Playing a sport tells you a lot about a person: whether they are passionate, generous, fair, kind, competitive, tenacious..