Contour Lab-founder Christina Hadinoto (© Nanted Photography)
Fashiontech entrepreneur Christina Hadinoto (39) is the founder of Contour Lab, a Flemish start-up that ‘digital body type shopping’ possible with the help of artificial intelligence. The software helps fashion brands to better advise their (online) customers about which garments best suit their body shape, so that people feel better about themselves. In addition to encouraging body positivity Hadinoto also wants to contribute to a more sustainable fashion sector in this way.
What do you consider to be your most important (entrepreneurial) characteristic?
“Of willingness to learn from other entrepreneurs and experts. In my experience, being open to advice and – sometimes critical – feedback from people who have already done it before you, makes you grow as an entrepreneur.”
“In the beginning of my corporate career I sometimes had a hard time with criticism because I took it very easily very personally. But I soon learned that it is much more profitable to convert that into something constructive and, above all, to learn from it. It is important to at least explore and apply that advice, even if it concerns things that fall outside your comfort zone.”
What do you hate/frustrate most as an entrepreneur?
“The chicken and the egg story: as an entrepreneur you are so often confronted with such challenges and that can sometimes make you despondent. It is not easy to find a product-market fit for an innovative software within the fashion sector that is nevertheless quite conservative. Then you would wish that people would be more open to testing and trying out those kinds of innovations. Sometimes you can only evolve and grow by taking a risk, only then do you see what kind of potential something really has and what positive impact it can generate. Then a local risk-aversive mindset is certainly not a gift on top of that.”
Who or what have you invested in lately?
“In myself, and I am very happy about that (laughs). Self-development is, in my humble opinion, one of the most important things in life. By seeking clarity around your personality and your values, you will stand firmer in your shoes and experience more happiness, also as a founder. In my case, investing in myself also meant growing my business.”
What small, everyday event can make you happy?
“Good food! I really like good food and drinks. During holidays I go from one place to eat to another and all other activities are almost incidental. On the last city trip with my husband, for example, we even ate in a different restaurant twice a night in order to taste as much of the local cuisine as possible. That to me is the definition of enjoying life, you get the extra kilos for free (laughs)!”
Is there someone who has defined your life? In what sense?
“My father, whom I lost almost nine years ago. He was a real example to me, especially of how you can create a positive impact as a person. As a doctor, he saved many lives and always gave a lot to everyone. To this day I am sometimes called upon to do so. Even by people I don’t know myself but who recognize me by the last name.”
“Unfortunately, I did not inherit his medical talents, but within my own skills and passion I also try to create as much impact as possible, as my father was able to do like no other.”