A look inside China's first finishing school (BBC百强女性及纪录片）
Sara Jane founded Institute Sarita, which runs two etiquette schools in China teaching the importance of manners and best social behavior, especially in the business world.
She plans to expand her brand into a lifestyle network. Her hero is her mother who passed away when she was 21. You can find our 30 entrepreneurs talking about their experiences in under 30 seconds each on our 30under30 special report.
(BBC 100 Women List released 16 November 2015, accessed here)
(BBC Documentary released 15 March 2016, accessed here)
Institute Sarita 瑞雅礼仪 (China News)
何佩嵘，80后香港人，在北京创立精修礼仪培训学校。她的学生大多数是企业家、高管等精英女性，有着国际社交需求。除了传统的礼仪指导，学校还开创了贵族运动、奢侈品读音、婚恋礼仪等课程，全部高端实景的课程练习让何佩嵘觉得每天近一万元的学费是值得的。何佩嵘不收“土豪”学生，也避免用名媛来定义她们，她觉得谦虚有礼的淑媛才是人人喜爱的。(June 16, 2014)
China's Rich Newest Hobby: Polo 马球
Polo clubs are springing up in China. As Sara Jane Ho, founder of etiquette school Institute Sarita tells the Wall Street Journal's Wei Gu, the killer instinct and quick reactions that successful entrepreneurs apply in the wild business world in China are put to the test on the polo field. (July 31, 2013)
Institute Sarita 瑞雅礼仪［开放新中国］
Founder Sara Jane Ho speaks with news channel CTI about Institute Sarita in her Park Hyatt offices in Beijing. (May 5, 2013)
Hong Kong-native Sara Jane Ho graduated from Harvard Business School last year and after an intensive two-month course at a Swiss finishing school moved to Beijing with plans to open her own high-end Institute Sarita, teaching Chinese the finer points of etiquette. Interest in her courses–which range in price from about $3,200 to $16,000–has been explosive, even though advertising has been through word-of-mouth only. The institute is in the soft-launch stage with the official opening due in March. Ho hopes to break even by midyear.
She spoke with FORBES ASIA in January and is on the watch list for our upcoming 50 Women In the Mix in Asia.
(February 22, 2013)
(December 22, 2012)
"Etiquette Catches On in China, Even in Government"
To mark International Women’s Day this year, China’s Ministry of Commerce sent a group of employees to finishing school.
About 20 women signed up for a half-day course offered by Rebecca Li of the etiquette school Institute Sarita. For three hours, Ms. Li reviewed elements of dressing and dining, western-style: What does it mean to wear black tie? What’s appropriate for a cocktail party? How can a woman dress to flatter her body type? How much makeup should she wear?
The ministry requested the seminar, says Institute Sarita founder Sara Jane Ho, who offered the class free of charge. Ms. Li, who ran the seminar, says that the women also had questions about how to keep fit and what kind of face cream to wear under makeup. “They were quite touched when I told them their job is very important” because the rest of the world will learn about China and its government through them, she said.
(April 8, 2013)
Wall Street Journal TV 电视采访及专栏
Learn how to pronounce your luxury brands correctly with Principal Sara Jane Ho
(September 3, 2013)
"Learning to be a perfect lady proves fruitful"
(May 31, 2013)
Rather than simply teaching Western-style etiquette, Ho takes an international look at various culture and customs.
Ho says she gives her students--many of them Chinese entrepreneurs--the tools to nurture personal and professional relationships and create special moments and events. Knowing how to bring together a crowd can be "a statement of your openness and awareness of the fact that people you are with may see the world differently," says the poised 28-year-old, who counts many Chinese entrepreneurs among her students.
Late last year, she began holding regular charity dinners in Beijing to showcase "the art of the dinner party."
(February 10, 2014)
《甄嬛传》里秀女大选时，太后示意侍从以泼茶水、放猫来试探甄嬛是否足够端庄稳重，某部欧洲电影里也有以大摔餐具来训练淑女处变不惊的素质的桥段。Sara Jane Ho和Rebecca Li的课程没有这么极端，但也不是将基本社交礼仪悉数讲一遍那么简单好过。
(April 12, 2013)
More Chinese Aim to Learn Western Etiquette
Since the school opened in March, Ho says, the majority of students have been women in their 40s who are business owners or partners in their husbands’ businesses. All hope to expand their ties abroad. One runs a supermarket chain in Chongqing and wants to cultivate relationships so she can stock more Western brands. “My students are mostly working women whose own mothers never taught them these things,” Ho says.
The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce hired Ho in May to teach 15 entrepreneurs, half of them men. In March, China’s Commerce Ministry invited Ho’s business partner, Rebecca Li, to teach officials heading abroad for work the finer points of Western dress and dining.
(May 30, 2013)
"Designing Life" series: Eating with pleasure and grace Chinese New Year
Dining culture is so important for Chinese that having a meal with friends and loved ones is more than just eating. Choosing healthy foods is at the core of the good life. But the pleasures of eating not only comes from the food itself, but the way one dines. In our second episode of the “New Year- New Life” series, our reporter Hou Na went to a finishing school that teaches people proper dining etiquette.
(February 11, 2013)
With her Swiss finishing school comportment and Harvard-gained business smarts, Sara Jane Ho is taking old-world etiquette to modern China.
The idea is that Ho sprinkles a little of her high-society stardust on individuals prepared to pony up the RMB100,000 fee for two-week courses in etiquette...Ho takes her gaggle of trainees around to ambassadorial tea parties, cocktail gatherings and upscale fashion-boutique openings, where they have the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired social graces and chit-chat skills.
Gliding around the upper society echelons of the capital comes naturally to Ho, who oozes charm and class in a natural, unaffected way. Her cut-glass English is just one of her grabbag of languages that also includes Cantonese, Mandarin, French and German.
Formal training in the art of etiquette may well be Ho’s speciality, but she is far from stuffy or overly formal, blessed with a keen sense of humour and a charming laugh that erupts frequently.
(November 1, 2013)
(April 23, 2013)
"Conversation With" (Women Warriors Series)
In China, more have joined the ranks of the nouveau riche but they seem to have a reputation of having more wealth than manners. Sara Jane Ho wants to change that. She is teaching the Chinese finer points of etiquette. She tells us what her clients find hardest to learn.
(September 16, 2013)
How to Behave
"Displaying manners shows people around you that you respect them, that your individual needs and convenience can be subordinated to put other people first in a very selfless way. And that is an important attribute for any society, Eastern or Western," she says.
So far, she has been surprised at the interest that has come from a wide spectrum of clientele including second-generation wealthy families, successful executives, and managers in state-owned enterprises who are increasingly called on to travel abroad. "My clients are very keen to learn how to engage with foreigners and to learn an established set of rules of courteousness that are to be respected in society across cultures," she says.
"They are very sophisticated, thoughtful and successful individuals and I learn a lot from them too. They see themselves as inheriting a 5,000- year-old civilisation and representing it and preserving it for the next generation."
(February 22, 2013)
Learning etiquette in a global context
Ho said her school will teach her students about self conservation and help them understand why they do what they are doing." Some people are not aware of their actions and cause offence because they haven't been taught the framework and references for what etiquette is," she said.
"We are teaching, not lecturing. It is a daily practice or a rehearsal," she said. "Students become accustomed to use and apply etiquette in everyday life so it becomes second nature. Practice makes perfect."
She gave an example, placing a knife blade on the plate in front her. "The knife blade is sharp. You don't want to face your neighbor with it. Behind every seemingly superficial move is a Chinese value of consideration and selflessness."
(January 28, 2013)
A revolution in manners
For Miss Ho, behaviour should be "situation-specific".
"If you are about to step up to the bus, go with the flow. You shouldn't push and shove. But you shouldn't be walking meekly to the back of the crowd either."
Indeed, her initiative is not without controversy. Some Chinese query why she is importing "Western manners to an ancient civilisation". With a gentle smile and in dulcet tones, Miss Ho reminds her interlocutors: "Confucian values also emphasise consideration for others."
(April 22, 2013)