Recipe for Sister Partnerships; Fights, Baggage , and Opposite Skill Sets: Conversation with Sisters

Today, Courtney and Dana chat about last week’s episode with sister entrepreneurs Marni and Willa Blank from Blank Studio NYC (Apple Podcasts | Spotify). Being sisters and business partners can come with a lot of baggage, fights from childhood, and hard feelings. But it can also mean a unique understanding of skillsets and dynamics that other business partners just wouldn’t understand.


Courtney: I think partnerships aren’t for everybody. And I think if you can’t take a really hard look at yourself and you can’t really do that introspection. It’s never going to work. 

Welcome to Hustle and Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Courtney,

Dana: and I’m Dana, 

Courtney: and we’re two sisters who have started multiple businesses together, and yes, it’s as messy as you think. We know that starting a business, isn’t easy. 

Dana: We’ve done it four times. And on this show, we talk about the ups and downs, the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey. 

Courtney: And we love helping small businesses succeed, whether that is through our venue consulting, speaking, team training, we love to motivate others to take that big leap. 

Dana: Or you could just use our misadventures to normalize the crazy that is being an entrepreneur, because every entrepreneur makes mistakes.

Courtney: And we like to call those unsuccessful attempts around here. 

Dana: And we know that’s just part of the process. And today we’re talking, just the two of us, about our interview from last week with Marni and Willa Blank. Who is a sister duo team that owns and operates Blank Studio NYC, a creative studio space, and the Blank Farmhouse, a beautiful 103-year-old farmhouse in the Western Catskills. 

Courtney: All right. Well, I thought that was totally like a masterclass on sister partnerships.

Dana: It was, and so it was sort of like a softball. So one of the things they talked a lot about was how their opposite skills, skill sets really complemented each other. So what would you say is our opposite skillset? 

Courtney: Opposite skillsets? I think we should just like one off them. Like, so one of my skills sets I think is, money management, like finances, seeing money as like a resource and how to best utilize it to move our forward. 

Dana: And that just stresses me out and gives me anxiety, yeah. Hmm, one of my skill sets is probably the ability to make a schedule. 

Courtney: You do make great schedules, like hour by hour, minute by minute. You’re good at like time blocking. 

Dana: More like task master. 

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely I think one of my skill sets is, I think I’m actually really good with words. So like being able to put something, it takes me a minute, like I’m not a really quick processor, but being able to take what we are thinking or trying to say and put it into eloquent terms.

Dana: Yeah. So I think this is a really good opposite skill set. I think you’re really good at like conceptualizing something and condensing it down into two or three sentences. Like you can really, like, you’re great at like making like mission statements and whatever, right. I feel like I am definitely I have a; my skillset is more like lengthy things. Like I always have a lot to say, and I don’t think I do it badly. but I am not good at like truncating it. Like, you’re really good at taking it and being able to put two or three, like really powerful sentences together. I feel like I cannot do that. Which is why you write most of our captions.

Courtney: Yeah. I definitely think that’s true. Like how does she get from this concept, 10 paragraphs? Like you can tell who wrote the newsletter I feel like every time. Yeah, even if we didn’t sign the names, our Hustle and Gather newsletter. Cause it’s like three or four paragraphs. I’m like, I can’t add any more to this. And then Dana’s is like a page and a half.

Yeah. I was never really good with those, like when you went to college and they’re like, it must be X number of pages. I’m like, but I could say that in half the amount of pages. So yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think that I am good at like seeing the bright side. Like, I feel like I can be positive even in negative situations and kind of not let the negativity paralyze me to not make a move.

Dana: Mm I agree with that. I think that in that same vein, I can see problems before they start. 

Courtney: I think that’s true. 

Dana: And we talk about just thinking through, like, I think I have a pretty good pulse on client experience. And so I feel like I always bring that up. Like, is this serving the clients best? Is client experience good enough? And I think for me, I strive to be the absolute a hundred percent best, where I feel like, you know, not that it’s great all the time. Sometimes I think it’s, it gets in your own way when you’re trying to think through like, what’s the best instead of just be like what’s okay enough, you know, but yeah, 

Courtney: I would definitely agree. I feel like a lot of my skills don’t directly translate to actually what we do, like what our businesses do. 

Dana: I agree. I mean, I think, I think you’re really, you’re really great at sales. I think I can, I have like good days at sales and there’s days I’m terrible at it and you never know what day it’s going to be when I get on the phone. So I just shouldn’t do it you know, so that I think you’re really good at selling, ourselves. 

Courtney: But then I don’t ever want to actually do it Like I don’t have like the ability to like compartmentalize. I don’t know, I’m not, I’m not good at time-blocking. No, I will get stuck in a rabbit hole.

Dana: You’re really, you’re really good at selling. You’re really good at making the promises, knowing we can deliver on the promises. You don’t make things we can’t deliver, but I feel like for me, I am better at like client facing, like sitting face-to-face with a client, having that conversation, holding their hand, making them feel special and wonderful and everything’s going to be fine. I feel like I definitely have More of a skill on that. 

Courtney: I don’t, I think I definitely give off a vibe of like, I’m trying to fit you in. 

Dana: I think whether you’re a sisters or your partners, you should be working with someone who has opposites, opposite skillsets than you. 

Full Episode Transcript

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.


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