Christina and I met at our kids’ school. We walked past each other one day and she stopped me to say that she’s a fan on Instagram. As it turned out, I’d been following her too, and I was stunned that we lived so close and yet only knew each other via Instagram. So this post is I guess about Instagram Friendships or rather relationships we start with a DM.
We obviously had many common interests and passions to connect over — parenthood, fashion and style, and, of course, entrepreneurship. But besides that, I felt something else; an instant connection with Christina and some kind of shared “friendship chemistry”. Believe it or not, there is a whole theory about that kind chemistry, called Friendship at First Sight (The Cut). Besides, moving from one country to another so many times has taught me that, no matter how busy life can get, you can’t miss the opportunity to connect with someone with whom you just “click”.
So, one afternoon, I invited Christina to my place and we started talking…
There are two things I love and admire about Christina. She doesn’t complain about how hard it is to be a mum, to run a business, and to live in a foreign country. And she seems super focused on what’s important in her life. Prioritising is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but Christina seems to have mastered this ability, and that’s how I would explain her calmness and confidence. You can immediately feel that she does everything with intention and with an awareness of her core values. Unlike so many of us, she seems to really know what she wants. While, like most of us, she tends to overthink, she doesn’t dwell on issues too long.
Here are some fragments of our conversation on topics I am sure would interest you too: motherhood, style, and women in business!
Tsitaliya: Christina, describe what you do and why you do it?
Christina Martynova: I’m a personal stylist and an image maker. I help women develop their unique style identity and create a functional, interesting and individualistic style that enhances the strengths of their character and helps them reach their professional and life goals.
I love what I do for many reasons.
For ages clothes were used to reflect social standing and belonging to a specific group, or they halped people to gain recognition, to attract a potential marriage partners, but also just to look pretty.
So everyone realizes what an important role clothes play in our lives. Unfortunately most of us are not educated on how to combine colors, how to dress according to body proportions, how to choose the right accessories, and how to avoid mistakes when shopping for clothes. It took me a couple of years to learn these skills. and now I can share my knowledge with others. I am really pleased when I meet women whose style represents who they really are.
I also love the creative part of my job: the fact that on a daily basis I can work with fashion, clothes, accessories to create exciting outfits and to learn about art and photography…
I love seeing the transformation that takes place during our work: starting from the very beginning, when people learn about clothing styles and how to read the geometry of faces, and ending with a full functional wardrobe. I love both the process and the result and I think it’s a blessing when you can say that about your work.
I also love that this transformation is not only external. My work has a big impact on how people perceive themselves and it reaches far beyond the tangible results, like saving time, money and creating an interesting wardrobe. Long after I finish working on someone’s wardrobe, people continue to see improvements at work and in their personal life, they feel more empowered, confident and much more self-aware. It’s an ongoing process and I absolutely love that I can be a part of this journey or in some cases even initiate it.
Tsitaliya: Tell me about self-expression through clothes and the way we dress. How style reflects personality – can you give me an example.
Christina Martynova: I believe that self-expression is a form of art. Just like an artist expresses an idea or emotion on a canvas by using colors, forms, textures, the same way a person tells their personal story and influences others by using the same elements of art in clothes (colors, forms, fabrics, print..)
But there is much more to style than meets the eye. Imagine that the clothes are an extension of your state of mind, psyche and life. It’s about knowing yourself really well.
That’s why when I work on someone’s personal style, I don’t focus only on their physical features, but also on their character, goals, lifestyle, habits, motivations, emotional reactions, principles etc.
By using different character typologies in my work, I offer women a possibility to understand themselves better, (re)-connect with who they are and what they really want. I have to say people appreciate this process a lot and for some it’s even incredibly inspiring and rewarding.
Tsitaliya: Christina can you describe the process you go through with your clients?
Christina Martynova: I don’t believe in “quick fixes” and fast results, so I never just take a person by the hand and immediately take them shopping. First we meet for a free discovery session when we talk about goals and expectations. That’s when we also decide if we are a good match for each other. Then we plan forward.
Everything starts with awareness and some theory. At the very beginning I offer my clients to watch an online training I’ve recorded. This is the ABC of style. They learn why physical features and character play such an important role in creating an individual style story. All theory is well supported by different visuals, so the information is easily absorbed. This gives them an opportunity to be involved in the process right from the start and to get some professional knowledge, which they can use later on.
Once they have developed a better understanding of style in general, I start developing an individual style book for them based on physical features analysis and character analysis.
I create coherent expressive style stories using visuals from the internet as well as making individual combos, so women can picture themselves. I show and explain to them the cuts, the colors, the accessories and during our consultation I explain how all these tools work in synchrony contributing to every personal style.
The steps that follow are practical and very exciting. This is when women start seeing how theory works in practice. They don’t just blindly follow my advice but actually process the logic of everything I say.
If there is a need, we would also schedule a shopping tour. This is another very exciting step. By the time we get the missing pieces and the new looks, my clients grasp the full value of our work. We often schedule other shopping tours in a couple of months. It makes me feel so excited to see the results of our cooperation: women are much more conscious of their choices, they navigate much easier in stores, they know well enough what suits them and what not, they can abstain more easily from pieces they know wouldn’t suit them.
Tsitaliya: Do you believe in the motto Dress for Success?
Christina Martynova: Yes I do. I believe that appearances matter, especially nowadays. People scan you and form an opinion about you within seconds. There is science behind it as well. So with your appearance you can instantly communicate your individuality, status, professionalism, character, etc without using words. I think it would be wrong to ignore it.
Tsitaliya: What trait do you think a woman should have to succeed in business?
Christina Martynova: Self-discipline, time-management skills, strong self-motivation skills, stamina, self-belief, high EQ.
Tsitaliya: Let’s talk about you now, how do you take care of yourself?
Christina Martynova: I always sleep 7-8 hours at night. I always eat vegetables, drink plenty of water, try to stay active. Of course I follow as well different beauty routines. The most difficult in being self-employed is to pull yourself away from the computer and say “Now it’s time to go outside, be active, do something for myself and clear my mind.”
I also work a lot on letting go of stressful and uneasy situations as quickly as possible and stay focused and positive.
Tsitaliya: What kind of mother/parent you strive to be?
Christina Martynova: I try not to be too controlling. I realize I cannot always protect my children and I need to give them the freedom to make mistakes and take responsibility for them. That’s the best learning experience. I’ve been learning how to use my sense of humor as much as possible, because humor helps in many situations in life.
I always try to be understanding no matter what: I want my kids to trust me and share their doubts, dreams, ideas, insecurities….
I try to be patient with their progress and give them an opportunity to discover their talents and passions at their own pace.
Tsitaliya: In what way do you empower your kids:
Christina Martynova: I give them a lot of hugs and kisses. I believe this is the best empowerment a mother can give.
I show them always their own progress: what they achieved in one year or in two weeks and how great their results are. I also tell them how to be their own person and try to find their own passion in life. I encourage them to think outside of the box, be independent and kind.
I also tell them to value hard work and not strive for immediate gratification. Great results take time.
You can find Christina on Instagram and learn more about her work on
All Photo Credits Mariya Marinova