Better Together: The Fortunato Twins

Our inaugural Better Together spotlight features twin sisters Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato, founders of the statement jewelry and accessories line Lizzie Fortunato. Known for using unexpected materials, artful color combinations, and exquisite mixed mediums, the twins’ brand is one of our favorite sources of inspiration. Read more to learn about their complementary skill sets, love of cool colors, and how they truly bring out the best in each other.

How do you pick your nail color combinations?

Lizzie: I’m a big fan of anything tomato-red. I think it’s so hard to get that perfect shade of orange-y red, so the second I saw Like Desire I knew that one was for me.

Kathryn: I tend to go classic and neutral, so I am loving the new Power Couples duos. Neutral colors give me the highest chance of not getting tired of my color combo for the next 7 days of my manicure! And how are cream and beige not one of the chicest color combos; I would be fine if my wardrobe were just those two colors.

In one word, how does a manicure make you feel?

Lizzie: COOL

Kathryn: Polished!

What’s your earliest nail memory?

Lizzie: I remember my mom taking us to her salon in Wilmington Delaware (where we grew up) at a pretty young age for manicures, which we had been begging for. We must have been about 7 or 8, and I recall getting in the car and bumping a nail on the seatbelt and sobbing. I think she probably turned the car around so they could fix it.

Kathryn: I can remember sitting at the fancy salon in Wilmington and watching our mom get her nails painted. The best was when she’d depart from her traditional neutral colors to get an OPI Big Apple Red or Clambake (OMG, I think that was my sister Lizzie’s and my favorite!). I also remember when my mom treated us to our first ever manicure (maybe in 5th or 6th grade), and I remember feeling SO grown up. It is a right-of-passage kind of memory.

What role do you play in your brand?

Lizzie: Our relationship is pretty symbiotic–we both support (and entertain!) each other immensely. In the business, I wear the creative hat, and Kathryn really does all the stuff that I find so impossible: paying vendors, doing taxes, balancing the books. She basically keeps me in business, which I'm incredible grateful for.  

Kathryn: I head up Sales & Operations, meaning I have a more analytical role: I handle hiring, finances, legal stuff, operational things, basically everything that Lizzie thinks is incredibly un-fun! But I love seeing how all the moving parts of the business work in sync to build a successful company. Lizzie is the creative: she is an innovator and understands designs, trends, and style much better than I ever will. We’re really lucky we have opposing & complementing skill sets; so often friends and peers comment that they need a “twin” do to the other half of their business. In life, we are a little more similar in our roles: both supportive, hard-working, incredibly disciplined, and we think the other is the funniest person we each know.

 In one word, how would you describe your sister?

Lizzie: Savior

Kathryn: Incredible!

What makes you better together

Lizzie: We really excel at opposite things: I'm a designer, she's an entrepreneur. She loves thinking big-picture business, and I love deliberating what color cord a necklace should be strung on. I would say I'm very micro, and she's very macro. Without the other we wouldn't have much of a business.  

Kathryn: Our collaborative energy and our ability to think similar thoughts. I cannot tell you the number of text messages we send to each other at the same time with the identical message because we so often think the same things at the same time. Those messages are always followed up by another identical message from each of us to the other “LOL, TWINZ.”

How do you get your best ideas?

Lizzie: Unfortunately, I design best at night, which is proving challenging as I get older. In the early days of my business, I could creation entire collections between about midnight and 4 AM. I draw inspiration from travel, fine art, and architecture. Oftentimes when I'm on a trip, I'll see a building or a piece of art or even something for sale in a local market that inspires the color palette and direction for an entire collection.  

Kathryn: I have always said I do my best thinking in my AM shower. I take long ones and get really in the zone.

Three things you’re into right now?

Lizzie: 1. Walking home over the Williamsburg bridge after work: it's a great way to completely clear my head and sometimes you have to look out over the skyline to remember how magical this city is. 2. Office tours on design blogs: We are moving our office and studio, and I've been in an office interiors rabbit hole. 3. The Rachel Comey Fond sweatshirt, which I've been wearing very casually and with heels.  

Kathryn: Oat milk, minimizing all of my plastic use, and nail art!

How do you press reset and relax?

Lizzie: Manicures, yoga, tequila cocktails, and the kitchen counter with my husband and good music. 

Kathryn: Yoga, reading, and a glass of red wine over a home-cooked meal with my husband (that he cooks!).