If there’s one thing we’ve all resolved to do in the New Year, it’s to save money. But a true fashionista not only wants more dough in her Fendi, she wants to look stylish while doing it. Lucky for us, several DC-based Web sites and e-newsletters have sprung up in recent months, offering exclusive savings, promotions, and discounts—all for free. Here are our favorites:
Former National Jean Company publicist Kelly Collis Fredrick founded CityShopGirl in October 2008 and already has several thousand subscribers on her daily e-mail digest. Every day, the free e-mail showcases a different promotion or deal at area boutiques, restaurants, and spas, often available throughout the month. Recent promotions have included a buy-three-get-one-free discount at just-opened Red Velvet Cupcakery, a VIP table and bottle of free Champagne at the popular club Shadow Room, and 20 percent off tee-shirts by LA designer LNA.
The site’s motto, “Shop, eat, and treat yourself,” rings true for almost any stylish young female, and Fredrick aims to keep the promotions accessible to her audience. While the site is pay-for-play in terms of content, Fredrick does exercise some overarching judgment about what types of items she’ll feature—she understands that her audience isn’t likely to drop $1,000 on a single pair of shoes or one night in a hotel.
Fredrick hopes to expand to at least one other city later this year, likely on the East Coast.
DC Girls in the Know offers a similar monthly compendium of deals at area spas, restaurants, hotels, boutiques, and events, with a more upscale bent. Founded by Chris Jacobs and Julie O’Brien in June 2008, the e-mail and Web site has grown to more than 4,000 subscribers since its launch.
Subscribers get three e-mails per month: one announcing the launch of new deals, another halfway through the month informing readers that there are two weeks left, and one just before the deals expire. “We’re very careful not to overcommunicate with our subscribers, who, like us, are busy professionals and don’t want their in-box flooded with nonessential e-mail,” says Jacobs.
Recent deals have included discounts at Hela spa, package discounts for the Land Rover Americas Polo Cup, and price reductions at BelaBumBum lingerie and maternity wear. Generally, each business offers several deals for the month on specific products, services, or ticket-packaging options.
Each offer is available for one month and chosen by O’Brien and Jacobs. Businesses benefit from the exposure and from the write-up in the newsletter and on the Web site, Jacobs says.
DC natives and Harvard Business School alums Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller founded StoreAdore.com in 2005 as a guide to the nation’s best boutique shopping. Learn more about the site in our Capital Comment feature.
Not only does the site offer an extensive listing of Washington boutiques, but it also features exclusive permanent discounts at boutiques such as Simply Soles, Urban Chic, and Wink. Before shopping, be sure to look up your go-to stores in the guide, where you’ll often find coupons for 20 to 30 percent off or free gifts with a purchase.
Known for its quirky and in-the-know daily e-mail service, DailyCandy has long been providing Washingtonians with advice on the latest new shops, spas, restaurants, and hotels. But did you know that it also offers a weekly-deal newsletter? Sign up for the Tuesday-deals e-mail, where you’ll find 20 percent or more off purchases, usually via an exclusive DailyCandy code. Discounted services and products range from hotels to home goods and are usually nationally focused. Also, be sure to check the sponsored listing in the DailyCandy weekend guide, which is published as part of each city’s weekly listing on Thursdays. Washington-themed discounts are often hidden inside that one advertisement.
Know of another must-read deals digest or e-mail? Send us your thoughts or leave them in comments below.