It’s almost as though fate brought Karen Fortunato and Lauren Merlo Cercel together.
The two women, who live in Poland, Ohio, kept finding themselves at the same gatherings with mutual friends and their husbands. They - and their friends - soon realized striking similarities in the women’s favorite products and tips. When one would pull one of her favorite products from her purse, for example, the other would say, “I love that!” or “I have the same thing!”
After plenty of serendipitous run-ins, the two women became friends and Karen proposed they start a business together, in the form of a lifestyle and beauty blog. They got to work researching blog names (before deciding upon 2 Orchids) and preparing content before officially promoting their website.
“I have always loved fashion, beauty, entertaining, decorating,” said Karen, and since these are loves that Lauren shares as well, starting a lifestyle blog was a natural step for them.
The two split up the responsibilities of running 2 Orchids pretty evenly - Karen is responsible for the technical aspects, including running their social media accounts and uploading videos to their YouTube channel, and Karen does most of the writing and photography. They both contribute videos, taking turns bringing a video camera with them on alternating weekends.
The duo have found that being real with their audience is what attracts readers and viewers.
“You have to be relatable,” Lauren said. “We are representing people our age.” But age is just one of many factors in their appeal; their audience members range in age from their children’s friends to 70-year-olds.
In fact, not too long ago, Karen was in an Ulta store when she was stopped by a woman and the woman’s 16-year-old daughter - they recognized her from 2 Orchids. “She buys everything you talk about [on your blog and in your videos],” the woman told Karen, referring to her daughter.
Lauren and Karen focus on bringing messages of positivity to their audience, especially in helping people deviate or become a little adventurous in trying new styles. “[We encourage them to] push the envelope,” said Lauren.
The duo loves helping women live their best lives, whether that means providing a beauty product review, sharing a recipe or offering style tips.
“We talk about a lot of things people want to know about but are overwhelmed,” Lauren said. “They need someone to help guide them.”
At the end of the day, 2 Orchids is Lauren and Karen’s business, but also a labor of love. “I love what we do - it’s what we’re passionate about,” said Karen.
Learn more about Lauren and Karen, and follow their blog at www.2orchids.com