The legal profession was her dream. Asrin Daoudi, born in Iran and immigrated to the Netherlands when she was eight, wanted to help people from an early age. The legal system was an entry point for her to do this at a high and specialist level, so she studied in The Hague and moved to Maastricht for a master’s degree. She then continued studying for a gown profession. Asrin had a drive to achieve and wanted to keep growing. The sky was the limit.
Asrin stayed in Maastricht for love, but jobs in the legal profession were not there for the taking. She found work as a legal assistant in a small office and quickly progressed to the position of lawyer. Asrin was in a flow, in her element, until she was confronted with a number of major life events. She worked nevertheless, blinded by ambition, until she exceeded the limits she never knew she had.
The consequences were serious: Asrin suffered severe physical complaints that she could not rationalize. The complaints also became more and more serious, even so great that she could no longer walk. She was out of action for four years. “For lack of a medical cause and a logical explanation, I was denying that there was anything serious wrong with me,” she says. “I mentally tried to do everything I could to get back to work, but my body wasn’t cooperating. It just didn’t work out.”
ParalysisAt the urgent request of doctors and specialists, Asrin entered a rehabilitation program. A physical, but also mental challenge. “I still had the urge to perform, I wanted to get back to work at all costs, but at the same time I couldn’t even leave the clinic due to painful paralysis in my legs. I had invested a lot of time and energy in my studies and career to finally end up in a place that I had aspired to for years, and had seized opportunities that you rarely get as a young lawyer. It felt like a personal betrayal.”
Forced to reinvent himself, Asrin ended up with healthy food. Something she has always found important and also plays a major role in her culture – in Iran people are in the kitchen in the morning to put a balanced meal full of organic products from the countryside on the table in the evening – but something she the hustle and bustle of the Western world in which food must be available as quickly and cheaply as possible had been completely lost sight of. She decided to make healthy, beautiful and tasty meals in her kitchen. Cooking required no energy at all. In fact, it gave her energy. She felt better about herself and was able to walk a little longer each time. Asrin became himself again.
Luxury datesThe date was one of the first ingredients Asrin started working with; a natural product common in Iran that is hardly used for cooking in the Western world, while in combination with other natural ingredients you can make very tasty food from it. The result was Luxury DadelBonBons: a vegan and gluten-free delicacy based on 90 percent dates and without added sugars. She made the chocolates purely for herself to boost her energy level, until she put the snack on Instagram and received all kinds of reactions from people who also wanted to eat it.
Asrin had no ambitions to start her own business — her desire to perform had disappeared forever during rehabilitation. However, the reactions made her feel so good that she decided to take the step. With success: in 2022 she won the Maastricht Award for innovative entrepreneurship. Asrin has now regained the flow. On Saturday, December 9, she will open The Matcha Society at Nieuwstraat 26 in Maastricht: a store where, in addition to date chocolates and pure, Japanese matcha tea, she will also sell 11.11 Spirits, an alcohol-free gin brand that she recently acquired from a friend.
Delay and connectionThe run-up to the opening makes for a busy period, but Asrin will never exceed her own boundaries again, now that she knows what those boundaries are and where they are. “I am going to do business with respect for myself,” she explains. “I determine my own opening hours, thus creating structure and peace. The store becomes my sanctuary, my sanctuary. A place where others can slow down and reconnect with their bodies.”
Does she miss the legal profession? “Not for a second,” she says firmly. “I still enjoy preparing and checking legal documents for my company, but it costs me energy, while working with healthy and tasty food actually gives me energy. I am closer to myself now. Body and mind are completely aligned again. I still help people, but in a different way: in the field of balanced nutrition. I am now the Asrin as she was meant to be.”