Being self-employed is hard work, but you have an enormous sense of freedom. In 1992, I opened the first tea shop in the Netherlands. In 24 years, the company grew into a household name with two shops, a wholesale business with customers throughout the Netherlands, a web shop and an import business. I couldn’t have done this without my fantastic team who I can always count on.
I think it’s special that I live in the place where I was once declared born. The old city hall stood here. From my flat, I now look at the new city hall designed by architect Richard Meier and I have a magnificent view of the Hague skyline that never bores. The Hague is really my city. You have everything here: culture, beach, good restaurants, lots of green and lots of peace and quiet.
You can’t stop growing old. I don’t have any problems with it, but I do notice that I have started to live much more consciously. Growing older also gives you peace of mind. You put things into perspective more and I notice that it is much easier for me to let go of things in my work. I’m still a control freak – I think that’s part of being an entrepreneur – but I pay much more attention to the main issues than to the side issues.
Wherever I am, I always want to shop. Not so much to buy, but to look and get inspiration for my own business. One idea can be so valuable. My favourites? Merci in Paris, A Vida Portuguese in Lisbon or Granit in Stockholm. And of course I visit a lot of tea shops.
Art & culture
For more than twenty years, I have had a premiere subscription to the Nederlands Dans Theater every season. It is surely unique that we have a company of world fame in The Hague. By visiting them regularly, I hope to do my bit to keep this company alive. I also like to go to the Gemeentemuseum, Mauritshuis, Museum Beel aan Zee or to a performance in the Koninklijke Schouwburg.
I love to travel. I am very western-minded and fond of Europe. There are so many beautiful things to experience, so why go far away? My friends know that I have a nose for nice hotspots. I used to make travel reports for them. Since Facebook exists, I share my tips on my private page. One of my friends is a well-known interior stylist and editor at various interior design magazines. He advised me to start a blog. For a year now, I have been writing on marionsmood.me about beautiful holiday spots, city trips and good restaurants. In short, about everything that I think will be of use to others.
Food and drink
As long as I can remember I have been involved with food and drink. I love to cook and in the past I have welcomed many a critical journalist and star chef to my table. Before I got into tea, I worked in a fantastic wine shop. There I learned how to combine wine with food. And now I do that with tea. Of course, I also love to eat out. I have many favourites, but I will mention just one: restaurant Sequenza is one of those hidden gems in The Hague that hardly anyone knows about. I go there regularly. I have never had a bad experience there.