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'Cure'-ated shopping 

A new website to impact the health of not just your bank account, but the city, too

A true shopaholic knows the old saying is actually "A sale a day keeps the debt away." Come on, they don't call it retail therapy for nothing.

Charlotte's newest shopping website is taking appointments, or members, we should say. Sale Diem, a website similar to e-commerce favorites like Gilt and Fab.com, will launch this fall, bringing a whole new retail landscape to our city. But instead of offering flash sales on big designer brands, that are often out of reach even after discounts, Sale Diem is doing things a little bit different. Founder and CEO Jeff Milkowski intended to create a site in which purchases wouldn't be a health risk to customers on a budget.

You might wonder how will it compare to the already existing sites out there, like Gilt.

"It's very similar in the way that it works — they're a members-only sale as well. But there's a big difference in our clothing versus theirs. They take very high-end clothing — so instead of a $5,000 suit, you can get it for $2,500. Not many people can even afford a $2,500 suit ... They're a billion-dollar company, but at the end of the day, they only appeal to a handful of Americans, where we want everybody to be able to afford clothes on our site," Milkowski explains.

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The concept is simple: A members-only site in which shoppers sign up at no cost to receive daily emails on a different sale item each day. The calendar, which includes dresses, denim, tops, bottoms and accessories/shoes, will remain the same so customers know what to expect every day. The best part? Members will enjoy boutique shopping at 75 percent off in-store prices. And by "in-store," we mean Sale Diem will offer items handpicked from independent boutiques across the country, instead of the typical big name retailers. This means conventional boutique shopping — in which hours are typically limited to 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. — will be made conveniently available from home or the office.

"We want to give boutique owners the opportunity to get that viral exposure that so many top tier fashion designers have. We found out that customers really like the boutique experience and there's really no viable site out there now that gives them that," Milkowski says.

A handful of local boutiques have already been selected and will get the first exposure, but stores nationwide, and even internationally, are taking an interest and are being considered.

Originally from New York, Milkowski moved to Charlotte two years ago and says he loves his new city and thrives on the growth he sees happening here. Once the site takes off, he plans to stay in Charlotte and keep the Sale Diem headquarters here, even after receiving offers from investors in California.

"I really feel that this could be one of the many companies trying to rev up the tech community in Charlotte. We feel that we could create a lot of jobs — and not only tech jobs, but all sorts of jobs. It could be another opportunity to grow outside of the financial capital," Milkowski said.

Sign up for free at www.salediem.com and follow Sale Diem on Facebook and Twitter (@SaleDiem) for updates and ways to get involved with Charlotte's newest business venture.

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