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The Third

Updated: Jan 19, 2023


Like every new year, some of us have a few new resolutions, others decide to completely change their habits and their lives in general.

No matter what category you are in, this new place in Dakar may help you find the perfect balance for this new year: Ladies, this post is for you!





When The Third appeared on social media, many including myself wondered what is an all-female private club and why the name The Third?

Today, Monifa Pendleton, founder and CEO of the Club answers all our questions and tells us what to expect!


Monifa



Born and raised in New York in the Bronx, Monifa is Afro -American living in Dakar and moving the city with this new concept. I loved our interview, because she had all this energy and passion for her project, all with a touch of American humor. After a long career in finance, she now lives in Senegal with her husband and I was curious to know how she ended up in Dakar setting up a project of this scale in a country where she does not even speak the local language! She tells me how Senegal has been part of her life since childhood even though she had never been there.

At the age of 8, her mother, who traveled a lot, went to Senegal and told her about her stay and the discoveries she made there. She was a real pro-Africa and even gave her a Yoruba name: Monifa Ayodele. Later, the family who had hosted her in Senegal came to visit them in New York. This was how Monifa had her first contact with Senegalese culture. Also, her mother's companion who was Senegalese also had a great impact on her life during her adolescence, even going as far as her choice of university and career. Many years have passed but neither she nor her mother have forgotten those memories. Moreover, the restaurant of the club, the Alma (which means love, kindness) was named after Monifa's mother who has passed away unfortunately.



The idea of a private club in Senegal


Basically, Monifa wanted to create a community. This idea came to her in 2016 during the celebration of her wedding in Marrakech with 80 guests, family and friends on the weekend of Thanksgiving, an American holiday, also her favourite one. They lived an extraordinary moment in a resort managed by a Senegalese-Guadeloupian, in a beautiful space with villas, making them forget that they were in a hotel. What impressed Monifa was the magical experience the owner managed to create for all the guests. Even after the wedding, lying on a hammock in the Seychelles on her honeymoon, she still wondered what was the secret to such a successful experience.

"The real luxury is the experience"


Back in New York, the opportunity to move and work in Paris presented itself. During the preparations for this big change, she went to have a drink with some friends, one of whom told her about another woman who was joining them and who was a founding member of an exclusively female private club. At the time, Monifa was just curious but didn't stay on it because she was going to live her dream: she just got married and was going to live in her favorite city, Paris.

She still began to follow this famous club on the networks and loved their content.

Her mother then falls ill, life in Paris is not as extraordinary as she expected because of the loneliness and she needs a space to find herself. This is how she joins the club her friend was talking about. It was the breath of fresh air she needed to overcome this difficult period and be the best version of herself for her mother and for her husband.

“Putting yourself first is the highest form of self-love. »

It was a wonderful, emotionally rewarding and intellectually challenging experience, with inspiring events and people.

Subsequently, she moved with her husband to Dakar for professional reasons.



The implementation of the project


Her first time in Dakar was when she came with her boyfriend for a friend's birthday, and they got engaged on the corniche. After their stay in Paris, the choice to go and live in an African country for professional reasons presented itself and they chose Senegal for their new life.

"To create something like this in a country that is not mine with a language that is not mine, I hope it will inspire other women as well as men to create what they want to see in the world. »

She started the project in March 2020, just before the Covid crisis spread to all countries, with the pitch and the business plan.

Then, she had to find investors and raise the funds: conceptualize the whole project, ask the hard questions like numbers, target audience, volume, etc.

The next phase was to find the location and do the build up: "I changed everything!" 90% of the furniture is made locally here in Senegal. There's talent here!"


"I really wanted to create something interesting and different. Even if you look at the traditional private club models, they don't have all of that. »

It took 10 months to physically create the space and the official opening was on September 16, 2022.

My first experience at the Third was with the Alma restaurant and let me tell you that their menu is worth the detour!



Why this name: the Third?

“Sociological studies have shown that human beings need third-party public spaces. In fact, we need the cafe, the library, the supermarket, etc. So, I always say that the first place is the house, the second is the office or workplace and the Third is this third space that completes you, so it is a full circle that brings your life together. »


Being a member



"We want you to have the best for the best!"

A real network is created thanks to this system of members with private events, and from this year the club will launch a business membership plan which will really attract businesswomen, and encourage companies to really reward women working there with memberships.

We have seen that with the Covid crisis, space and well-being are very important. People expect and want more.

"The traditional work experience is no longer the same, no one wants to be in the office. So we're creating a different environment for women to network, advance their careers, explore new options for themselves, really get to know themselves and connect with other people.”

There is an application selection process to go through before becoming a member, the goal being to curate a community.

“We want people to visit the place first. Because this is a new concept and so different from everything else, it's important for you too to see and feel the love and intention that has been put into this project. You might see a snippet on Instagram but you won't really get a feel of what we're doing. »

There are different types of memberships depending on age, geography, such as "young professionals" membership (women under 30), non-local business membership (for members living abroad but who often come to Senegal), etc.



For non-members, they miss a lot, as they only have access to the first level and the restaurant. The second floor has all the exclusive services offered at the club: members have unlimited access to the fitness studio, the pedicure/ manicure area, massage, the library with exclusively female authors, the salons. There are even two magnificent bedrooms available, one overlooking the garden and the other overlooking the sea.



Club members benefit from all the programming and have access to all the services, events and activities offered free of charge. Manicure, pedicure, massage are offered for free once a month to remind you that you deserve it, and it's supposed to be the way we take care of ourselves. The meeting rooms on the ground floor are also available to them.

Non-members will not be invited to private events, to the book club or to workshops such as the one on entrepreneurship, etc.

On the other hand, the Third is open to everybody including men every Thursday for afterworks.


Dakar is just the beginning

“Dakar is just the beginning! I will take this brand to about 8-10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Let me tell you, 8 years from now I'll be ringing that New York Stock Exchange bell saying "The Third is a public company!" "I have a perfectly clear vision of the journey I want to take."

The club will also launch a digital membership, so that women in Paris, London, Geneva, New York, etc. feel connected to something in Africa. That the network allows its members to say to themselves that "I don't have the answer to that question, but maybe someone in this community, in this app that we are developing and launching next month, knows and could help me. »

"I want them to see that anything is possible! I want it to be such a strong brand when it comes to women moving forward, to have a space to feel connected to positive women. They might have some tough times in their lives, but they know that they have the Third. »



One last word


"We're a safe space where women can just be, and really step up, shine, feel connected, have a sense of belonging, create community, and know that when you walk through our doors, we are here for you, we support you and we are behind you 100%. It's transformational. Even in my career I wanted to change the myth that women don't support women, I want to change that mentality that says 'every time I've had a challenge throughout my career, most of the time it's was because of a woman". We can change that. And we can start with the Third.

This is my part, I want to create and reinvent what we can be together as women. »

Monifa



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