Sister partners Marni and Willa Blank on fighting, codependency, and giving back to the community

Willa and Marni Blank never intended to go into business together. They were just too different, and they were nervous it would put a strain on their relationship. But while they were working on ideas for separate businesses, they started to realize that their differences were actually complementary – and maybe they had something special together.

Marni and Willa Blank are a sister team, owners and operators of Blank Studio NYC and The Blank Farmhouse.


Marni: Just like any relationship, a business partnership is a lot of work, especially when you’re related. And I, and we’ve worked really hard to get to a place where we move through fights faster. It doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that we don’t disagree and that we don’t have, you know, moments, but we move through those feelings a lot faster and we’ve, we’ve really tried to hone those skills. And so, so we don’t yeah, revert back to our teenage angsty selves.

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

Courtney: and I’m Courtney. 

Dana: And we are two sisters who have started multiple businesses together. And yes, it is as messy as you think. Because we know that starting a business isn’t easy. 

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

Dana: And we love helping small businesses succeed. Whether it’s through our venue consulting, speaking, or team training, we love to motivate others to take that really big leap.

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

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

Courtney: And we know it’s just part of the process. And today we’re learning from Marni and Willa Blank, a sister duo team, yay, that owns and operates Blank Studio NYC, a creative studio space, and the Blank Farmhouse, a beautiful 103-year-old farmhouse in Western Cochecton, Marni and Willa. Welcome to hustle and gather.

Willa: Thank you. 

Courtney: Yeah. We’re so excited to talk to some sisters.

Dana: I know it’s our first real sister interview.

Courtney: Yeah.

Marni: Always fun to see the different dynamics between the sisters, which one of you is older?

Dana: That one over there.

Courtney: I know I look younger.

Dana: She says that all the time, but you know, we’re only two years apart. So you just say, we look the same age, is sufficient.

Courtney: Yeah. Obviously we know your sister’s three and a half years apart, but Marni, you were originally a lawyer and a real estate agent right before starting business and Willa you were a fashion designer for 10 years.

Marni: Yeah, we. definitely took different paths in, in school and in different passions. And yes, I was a lawyer for about five years before I decided that it wasn’t for me. I was at that point where I was waking up every day, wishing my day away. And at 31, I just felt like that’s not what I want to be doing with my life there. There’s got to be something more out there. 

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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