The story behind Curlicue NZ

Hello and Welcome!

My name is Suzie Horne and I am the Owner, Creative Director, CEO and everything in-between for my small Handmade Accessories business: Curlicue NZ.  I thought I’d start off by introducing myself – and tell you the story of why I started Curlicue NZ.

My “Why?”

I made this video clip a little while ago explaining why I do what I do ~ the reasons behind starting my small handmade business. You can watch my WHY video here.

Some of the reasons I started a home business was so that I could be here for my daughter in a full-time mum capacity, be a ‘Home Executive’, use my creativity skills and do something I love all at the same time…

But the main reason is YOU.

I want to help you, and other busy women, to feel confident and beautiful by wearing gorgeous jewellery – whilst also being conscious of the environment – that’s not too big a task, is it?

Early work Paua Shell necklace in Viking design
One of my first 'custom orders': a Viking-inspired NZ Paua Shell necklace

My Story

Hmmm. How to tell you my story without being too longwinded about it! 🤔 I know – bullet points!! 😂

  • I grew up mostly in Auckland, New Zealand (though had a small 3 year stint of my childhood in Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • My training and first 10 years of working was in Environmental Planning and Ecology, so I have a fairly strong appreciation for our natural environment
  • Since getting married in 2003, my husband and I have visited Kruger National Park in South Africa 5 times – and we’re going again later this year….  Animal conservation is a big part of my story, and has become a family passion.  We like to help with the conservation of endangered animals where we can (usually via ‘adoption’ or donations to WWF every year)
  • I became a full-time mum to one gorgeous girl in 2008, then suffered secondary infertility, so “just have one”
  • In 2010 my husband gave me a voucher for my birthday to do a 1 on 1 Jewellery Making Tutorial. This is where my love for designing and creating jewellery began… and at the end of 2013 (after a few suggestions of ‘you should sell this’ from family and friends) Curlicue was born – I later added the “NZ” to emphasise the “Made in New Zealand” aspect 😁
  • Making beaded wire jewellery was where I started, but then discovered wire wrapping, using stones and shells in their more natural, “raw” form, which led to my unique, one of a kind (OOAK) pieces. With wire wrapping, spirals and korus became a main design feature
  • I love to use beads and stones that are part of my heritage (handed down from my Grandma & Great Aunt), and re-design into styles that I like to wear – I’m very happy to do this for you too! You can contact me separately about up cycling your heritage jewellery
  • Usually, I don’t wear much makeup or dress in fancy clothes but I wanted something that would add a pop of colour or make me feel beautiful without having to dress up too much – I found I was able to do this with my jewellery 😊
  • Helping others is something I love to do, and being able to help other new mums or busy women feel more beautiful just by wearing lovely jewellery is heart-warming
  • When I discovered the ability to buy recycled silver and copper (currently sourced from Australia), I tried to make the business follow my personal environmentally friendly ethics
  • A “curlicue” is a flourish or double-ended spiral – which I use a lot of in my designs! I wanted a name that was distinctive and unique – just like my jewellery, but also meant something
  • I’m an INFJ (Myers-Briggs Personality Type) – the world’s rarest personality type 😁
  • After years of IBS & severe endometriosis, I was diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome in about 2012
  • After creating my first few designs (all OOAK), I realised I needed to also create ‘reproducible’ items – designs where I could make the same/ similar thing over again for different customers – these are the items now available in my shop.
  • I also started creating collections – where all the jewellery fitted a theme.

As I said above, one of the reasons I created Curlicue NZ was the ability to have the freedom to work my own hours, look after my daughter – and also look after myself. Living with chronic pain (and a few other medical problems) I’ve had to learn to put myself first more and take care of myself when needed.

After all, if you don’t look after yourself and have good health – you’ll not be much good at looking after others – whether they’re family or customers! If this wasn’t enough, you can find out other info about me here.


Main image Twisted Arrow Layer Ring
Twisted Arrow Layer Ring

My values

I care about the environment and feel strongly that we should each do what we can to help battle #climatechange and the current #climatecrisis due to #globalwarming. I have transferred this ethos to my business life too and have tried to incorporate our consideration of our natural environment into everything I do.

Mostly using 100% recycled Sterling (or Argentium) Silver in my designs, I also try to incorporate the 3 R’s (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) within my business and am always looking for ways to improve.

Current sustainability practises:

  • Using fully recyclable product tags that also double as business cards, using environmentally friendly inks
  • Using premium printed kraft paper and tissue paper in my gift wrapping
  • Having re-usable flax bags (kete) for my Premium Gift Wrapping
  • Re-purposing existing bubble wrap into inserts in my boxes (instead of using foam)
  • Also re-using bubble wrap I already have in all my packaging (I’ve never bought new bubble wrap – and I still have loads!)
  • Using paper ribbon and cord
  • Using recyclable sticky labels
  • Recycling all card and paper off-cuts
  • Storing off-cuts and wires that ‘didn’t work’ during my design process, in order to send off to be recycled into usable silver wire again

packaging story_Blue Diamond Pearl Pendant inside gift box

I think I’ve been doing reasonably well – however, I do have plastic within my current packaging! 😱

My reasoning: I really wanted to have a box where you could see the contents (inside the box), which has led to a PVC cover with cardboard base. This box is still fully recyclable in most places. The PVC lid is made from food-grade plastic “1”, which is the most easily recyclable. (The boxes are made for chocolates!) You can read more about my packaging here.

In the future I would like to have a box that has the window created from plants – that is fully biodegradable in the long term. However I also want my boxes to last, and for you to be able to keep your precious handmade jewellery inside, and safe from scratches…. So, a bit of a conundrum. Currently I can’t afford to have this created, but hope that such items do become more practical in the near future.

That’s it! A bit about me, my background and the story behind Curlicue NZ. Over the next few months I will talk about other topics including:

  • What does “Sustainable Jewellery” actually mean?
  • Heritage Jewellery
  • Cleaning & caring for  handmade jewellery 
  • What is “hypoallergenic” and what does it mean for jewellery?
  • Being a Stay At Home Working Mum #sahwm
  • Living (& working) with an invisible illness
  • Product features (behind the scenes, making etc), and more…

I’d love to hear what you think?

~ Suzie 😊