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Taylor-Made: The Entrepreneur Behind Sway Curtains

It was not a career move Diana Taylor anticipated. The founder of Sway Curtains was furthering her expertise as an actuary by studying a Master’s when she ran into a challenge while updating her home: the curtain choices were simply not up to her standards.

What began as a personal problem then became a business in 2018, filling a gap in the market that only seemed to offer mass-produced curtains or over-priced, bland designs.

She found high-quality European fabric in Turkey for a fraction of the price she was paying in Australia and figured there must be others who were willing to pay good money but who hadn’t received value in return. Thus began Sway Curtains, which first started in Seaforth with Taylor doing home consultations with samples loaded into her car, and then followed with a move to the Belrose Super Centre as the range and business grew. (The brand also has a showroom in Avalon.)

If it seems like an unusual career pivot for an actuary, that’s because it is. While most design professionals come from artistic backgrounds, the self-confessed maths geek undertook an interiors qualification and then found she had a technical advantage with her skillset.

“Both myself and the people that I hire are very technical and very precise. It looks easy, but there is a lot of knowledge in there and there’s a lot to do when it comes to technical [things], from little hooks to big, motorised tracks,” says Taylor. 

One challenging job was fitting curtains for the Sydney Opera House. “It was a wavy floor and the curtain had to follow that wave to a one-centimetre height. It was a tedious job. We measured every 20 centimetres and we had to tailor it,” she recalls. “It was quite complex and I was very happy to put my mathematical skills to use.”

Her analytical brain also comes in handy when looking to “balance a room”, which is part of the reason why she’s focused on window décor – it’s all about having the greatest influence on the feeling people have upon entering. “Visually, if you come to think of it mathematically, it has a huge impact. You enter a room and the curtains are running three metres high, four metres wide: that’s 12 square metres. A couch might only be one by three metres; a rug is not in your eyeline when you enter a room.”

Taylor encourages customers to start in the showroom to curate a shortlist of samples based on the vibe they want for the room, before bringing a Sway design consultant into their space. Allowing more decision time upfront pays dividends when it comes to an interiors’ product that’s designed to dominate a room. 

“It's a long-term investment that needs to be thought through. We always want to stay with the customer until they find what they like and actually fits them well,” she says. “Whenever I talk to customers, I say, ‘what feeling do you want to get when you enter this room? Do you want it to be formal or do you want it to be casual and relaxed?’ That investment is really important because a curtain can last for many, many years. Five years later when you look at it, it should still represent you and give you that good feeling.”

Today, in addition to its exclusive European fabrics, Sway offers an Australian-made range as well, with 50-50 imported versus locally produced materials thanks to its extensive supplier network; its showroom represents the Northern Beaches’ largest range. The brand’s custom fitting service takes four weeks from quote to finish, and in six years of business it has meticulously installed window coverings in more than 1000 homes, plus clients like the Sydney Opera House and the Australian Museum.

If there’s one recommendation Taylor wants to share with people looking to update their curtains, it’s to “just go with your heart” and let the professionals look after the details. “Sometimes there is a big risk in overthinking. Let the consultant reason. Having a super experienced consultant means the client has the whole freedom to choose with their hearts.”

Visit Sway Curtains ( at Level 1, Belrose Super Centre, 4-6 Niangala Close, Belrose.

Top tips for curtain care

Diana of Sway Curtains shares her tips to keep your curtains looking immaculate.

How often should people clean their curtains?

“It depends where they live. We have people who don't wash them for 10 years, but then we have clients with allergies who want to wash them every year or two because they live next to a busy road or dusty area. Or they have kids who put their hands on it. So it depends on your lifestyle.”

How should they clean the curtains?

“Curtains can be vacuumed. It’s very efficient.”

What about washing them?

“For very thick curtains, give them a baby bath. Throw them in the bathtub and wash them like you'd wash a baby – gentle. They don't need any tumbling.”

Local favourite

Diana’s family enjoys the zipline at St Ives Treetops Adventure, just on the border of Ku-ring-gai National Park. “It's our favourite place in St Ives.”

By Adeline Teoh

1 Comment

Lucy Ransone
Lucy Ransone
Mar 18

Using Diana's example, we see that it is never too late to change your career. I worked as a lawyer and at the same time studied to become a journalist. But since I had no experience in journalism, it was difficult for me to get a job. So I used linkedin profile writing service to update my profile. After that, people began to notice me and offered me a good job in a magazine.

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