Despite being the last thing he wanted to do after finishing high school, Ryan Mansour has most definitely found his calling working in the family business.
You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a bit strange for someone who studied behavioural science at university to be working in the textile and window coverings industry.
But that’s Ryan Mansour.
Despite studying something completely unrelated to the family business, Ryan says travelling brought him back to his roots.
“I was always interested in the world of textiles, especially the kind of technical textiles that you live with, and decorative textiles that adorn where you live,” Ryan explains.
“Travelling reinforced an interest in that. When I came back to Sydney after years away, there was an opportunity to join the business.” So he jumped right in.
A changing industry
When it comes to the window covering and textile industry as a whole, technology has been the biggest change witnessed by Ryan.
“The businesses that are doing well and growing have invested in technology. It results in clearer communication about lead times and product availability, which then means we can communicate this to our clients more easily,” he says.
Another trend? Bigger is better.
“Products are bigger, windows are bigger, ceiling heights are higher,” Ryan says.
“There’s now the ability to span many openings or windows with a single product or using a continuous fabric. Even ten years ago this would have been difficult.”
When it comes to legislation, regulation and education, there has been a huge shift.
The Green Building Council of Australia, established in 2002, promotes the Green Star Build Certification to ensure the building is sustainable and the legislation to ensure buildings, both residential and commercial, are compliant, including the BASIX Certificate in NSW.
There’s regulation related to child safety and window coverings, as a result of which, Ryan says, some products once very popular simply can no longer be used.
According to Ryan, the industry is becoming a lot more unified when tackling these challenges.
“Businesses can’t do it alone, and work collaboratively with the support of industry bodies like the Blind Manufacturers’ Association of Australia to help.”
Where to from here?
One of the biggest points of difference when it comes to Mansours is the business’ ability to give broad advice on a whole range of window coverings. In fact, that’s their core business.
For Ryan, he hopes it remains this way, and in fact, only gets better.
“The hope also is for clients to see that we’re there to provide a holistic, whole property solution that can meet their functional needs, that’s also decorative and enhances the spaces they live in.”
So what about the next generation?
Ryan’s kids are a bit young to show a genuine interest in the business.
“My daughter wants to be a gymnast and a movie star, and there’s a big gap between movie star and retail,” Ryan laughs.
“At the same time, she’s really proud of the storefront that has her surname on it. It’s nice to pass down the same sort of conversations and experiences that I had as a child, to my own kids.”
Ryan speaks very affectionately of his own childhood in the business, including new store openings with his dad.
“It was that time spent with my father that I remember very fondly. It wasn’t something that I realised until afterwards, it’s an opportunity that not everybody gets.”
There’s definitely something special about watching a parent build something that has heritage and history to it, and the Mansours is most definitely a case of this – generational history that has been passed down from Joseph to Lawrence to John and now to John’s children – Ryan, Natalie and Adrianne.
For Ryan, there are life lessons that have been fostered. It’s these moments that he hopes are passed down to the next generation, if not a love for the wild world of fabrics.