Interview with Krisztina Tardos – Founder of The Merit Club
We caught up with Krisztina Tardos, Founder of The Merit Club, an incredible online female members club, to talk about what inspired her to start up The Merit Club and why she’s so passionate about bringing women together.
Tell us more about The Merit Club and how it came about?
It was something I was missing actually while I was still working in the corporate world and had very little free time, a place or a brand I can trust to always offer me interesting and quality things to do, but not only that, somewhere where I could meet awesome people and know it won’t be the last time I see them. I really hated networking, so that wasn’t an option, but I struggled to find other ways to grow my social circle outside of expensive, male dominated members clubs.
In 2016 when I came up with the idea to create a club for women, there really wasn’t anything similar I could find, so it took me 14 months from that moment to launch it and honestly it’s been such a journey!
Tell us about the perks you get as a Merit Club member?
Ah there are so many! Of course I would say that, but I truly think that if you take the time to explore the membership, there is so much value in it for women with different interests and priorities. I really took the time to design it in a way that reflects our multifaceted personalities, but if you would like me to be specific, there are really three main pillars: Events, which we have 10-15+ every month, from wellbeing discussions, art classes, finance circles, theatre visits and more, Access, to members clubs and co-working spaces (free trials and visits) and the Perks, where members not only get to be introduced to amazing brands to widen their horizon, but get fantastic little added benefits too, such as upgrades, a glass of champagne with their dinners and so on.
The membership is really there to bring that sparkle back into your week, so you can treat yourself and fill up your own cup – it helps me have a better work life balance, and I know it helps my members do too!
Since the pandemic started, how has The Merit Club adapted?
Well it was a bit of rollercoaster for me emotionally in the beginning, with the club being so heavily focused on experiences and in person connections, I really thought it was the beginning of the end. I now know that my members are so much more loyal to the club than that and they stuck with us in these really difficult times, which I’m eternally grateful for.
We very quickly brought all of our events online and even before the official lockdown was announced we had a comprehensive events schedule planned to keep the community engaged and supported. I’m quite proud that we were able to act so quickly and be there for our community when they all needed some kind of direction. We also created a virtual workspace on Slack, which was so helpful to have in those initial months.
It is safe to say that online events will continue to be part of our offering and the event replay library has been one that we keep hearing our members rave about, because they never miss out on anything anymore!
What exciting things have you got coming up?
With London re-opening up, everything seems just so exciting! If I have to pick a couple of things though, I’m really looking forward to launching our partnership with an amazing charity tackling female homelessness and we have been planning some incredible discussions for this, but I’m also excited to finally be able to launch some initiatives and collaborations that we’ve been working on in the background. All I can say is that there will be lots of exciting experiences for women to take part as a collective and in their own time too.
Best piece of advice you were given when starting the Merit Club?
I pretty much followed my own intuition as the concept was so different, I found it hard to look up to any one person. I’ve put in the hours for sure, and that is something that really served me because I was able to build the company on solid grounds.
One thing that was so incredibly useful to read about around the time I was deciding whether I should get a custom made website or simply start on Squarespace was something like ‘test the idea first before you spend the big bucks because you will want to change things in the early stages when people start using your product or services’. I now know how costly it would have been if I didn’t design the website myself and thank God I did! So it is really just about letting go of the need to put something perfect out there and just launch it! Learn, observe, change things and you will soon have a much better thing you created than what you started with.
If you had a free day in London to do whatever you want, no limits, where would you go?
I would LOVE to go to a spa, and it would probably be in the one in the BVLGARI hotel near Knightsbridge. I had the best ever massage there and just the most relaxing and tranquil experience so that would definitely be on the list. After that I’d go for a beautiful afternoon tea in the Kensington hotel, they always have such interesting themes. Last year it was all about London landmarks and I can’t wait to see what they do this year.
I would then probably finish off the day going to the Arts Club in Mayfair if I was still a member. I always loved their music nights showcasing some incredible artists and the food there is just amazing too!
To find out more information on the Merit Club or to join visit: https://www.themeritclub.com
Photography by Nyla Sammons