An often-quoted adage warns us not to judge a book by its cover. Scientific research, however, shows that we often make our first impressions of people we meet within minutes! In a recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Cherrise Tan, founder and master trainer at K.E.Y. the School of Etiquette and Image (K.E.Y.) shares her background and the niche she has carved out for herself in the industry.
Cherrise Tan remembers that she wanted to be a fashion designer when she was a little girl. Although she isn’t one, her chosen line of business also reflects her belief that we all need to be well groomed, have confidence and project a positive image. “I believe everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve his or her greatest potential,” says Cherrise.
She credits going to university and living in UK as the experience that first gave her an idea of western manners and etiquette. Perhaps those were nascent awakenings of a direction that she would take eventually. Armed with a degree in Business Administration when she came back to KL, she undertook jobs in shipping and banking. It was a grooming workshop that Cherrise attended when she was working at a bank which convinced her and eventually pushed her towards her ultimate career choice.
Filled with passion towards helping others to not only look and feel confident, Cherrise spends more time discovering about people’s personality. “There are people who don’t have ‘image’ but still rich. It’s the way we understand others and respect occasions matter more than image itself,” says Cherrise.
Cherrise pursued her initial certification as an Image Consultant. Now, she is internationally certified as AICI FLC by AICI (Association of Image Consultants International, USA). Cherrise is also a certified PSMB trainer and Children Etiquette Consultant with the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, USA.
The bubbly and affable Cherrise who has been featured by the television and print media on numerous occasions, has worked with more than 50 companies throughout her 10 years in the industry. She has improved the etiquette and image skills of some 10,000 people in the process and she is continually motivated by the change she sees in the participants. “It’s so encouraging to see so many lovely positive changes and that is the magic at work,” says Cherrise.
Two years ago, Cherrise noticed an untapped market in this industry. While most classes are aimed at catering to the working adults, she felt that children and teenagers would also benefit from them as they were also entering the job market or going overseas to study or work. Bingo! Cherrise has hit another jackpot. Her classes were so popular that families started bringing their younger ones and the programmes expanded to cover them too. The syllabus for younger children is very comprehensive and includes issues such as social media and its influence.
This inspiration to put her work towards creating the desired adults of tomorrow who have good manners and respect for themselves and others was the basis that Cherrise set up K.E.Y. which stands for Keep Enhancing/Empowering You!
“My mission is to unlock the potential in people so that their character can be enhanced and strengthened. One of our programmes for adults is called CMMC – Create Money-Making Character which goes beyond grooming to emphasise on helping individuals to identify people’s personality through body language, psychology of colours & styles, carry themselves confidently in all occasions with etiquette as well as help others to achieve their personal and business goals.”
This busy businesswoman is also a mother to 2 young children – a boy and a girl aged 5 and 6 respectively. However, in her busyness, Cherrise makes it a point to find time to do what she enjoys – exercising and swimming, and that helps her stay fit.
K.E.Y. hopes to reach out to train many more thousands of children and adults alike five years down the road. “I hope K.E.Y. will be established in Johore, Penang and in every town in Malaysia. I also look forward to getting this programme into all the schools as we want to share the knowledge of grooming and etiquette and transfer people skills to everyone. In the process, we should all respect each other,” says Cherrise. Creating respect through good manners and etiquette is another cornerstone of K.E.Y. In fact, its tag line is: Respect – Everyone Needs It!