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Finishing School Guru Brings Etiquette to Decatur

Wise County Article

Knowing proper table manners or how to dress for a holiday business function may be highly desired skills, but they are rarely taught in today’s society. However, a relatively new Decatur resident is trying to change that.

Deborah King, who moved from Seattle to Decatur about a year ago, has revived the teaching of etiquette and brought it with her to Decatur.

As president and founder of Final Touch Finishing School, King said the value of proper etiquette and manners can be valued in any setting, from the playground to the business world. The foundation of all manners is kindness and respect for self, others and property. When that is achieved, King said people gain confidence in themselves, which can allow them to succeed.

“All walks of life and all kinds of people, the one consistent thing I see is that we’re all the same,” King said. “When we don’t have confidence in areas, it affects our self-esteem and our level of success.

“I believe all of us have a desire to feel valued, and that’s the core of everything that I teach.”

King started Final Touch 15 years ago in Seattle. She said her own background didn’t provide her with social or appearance skills that she saw in other children her own age. After being involved in cheerleading and pageants in school and attending modeling school, King learned those skills. When she married, she wanted to impart her knowledge to her own children. However, there was nothing to re-enforce those skills outside the home.

“Social skills and knowing how to be well groomed and present yourself in a polished way really make the difference in our relationships ­ on the playground, into high school and eventually in the business world,” King said.

Although Final Touch began as an appearance center for teenage girls, King now teaches dining etiquette, appearance skills and general business and social etiquette to men and women from 5 years old to 78.

“There is no such thing as a typical student,” King said.

Many people may wonder how a finishing school fits in a 21st century society, but King said that as society changes, rules are needed to govern social interaction. Business etiquette has also changed over the years.

King said she is currently working on an electronics etiquette seminar addressing cell phone, fax, e-mail and telephone usage.

Posture is also included in business etiquette. King said many business people sit at a desk all day with their heads hanging forward, which puts pressure on their upper back and shoulders, causes fatigue and can affect productivity.

When the Sept. 11 attacks happened, King said she expected her business to take a big hit, but just the opposite occurred. The economy was in a downturn, and the business world became very competitive. People who had college degrees and experience needed an edge, a polished image to stand out in the crowd, and King helped them achieve that.

Although Final Touch remains based in Seattle, King travels across the country to deliver seminars to public and private schools, colleges, universities, church groups and various companies, including Microsoft.

King said most of her business is based on word of mouth and the school’s Web site, which is how she came to live in Decatur.

About two and a half years ago, a Decatur family asked her to come and teach an etiquette class. When she returned home to Seattle, she said she told her husband she had found the perfect place for him to retire.

A year and a half later, they moved to Decatur. King said the city’s proximity to DFW Airport suits her travel needs very well.

Once her house is finished being built in Decatur, King said she plans to offer lessons in her home. She also has a one-week camp planned at Garrett Creek Ranch for teenage and college-age girls.