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A Peek at a "Sneaqy" New Fashion App on Facebook

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"SneakPeeq....."

The name was catchy, but the description was so confusing that I had to take the publicist up on his offer to meet the website's creator.

Five minutes into meeting him, I understood perfectly: if SneakPeeq was anything like it's co-founder, it's a digital dynamo in chic clothing.

As Henry Kim walked in with an eclectic patchwork blazer, straight cut premium denims -- handcrafted in L.A no less -- it was clear that he appreciates fashion. He sharpened his knowledge of the business through years working for retail king Ron Burkle, a key investor for brands like Zac Posen and Sean John. After this, the Stanford graduate spent time investing in his own retail ventures before deciding to take a turn for the virtual.

His partner for this next phase? Naturally, Harish Abbott, a former college roommate and fellow Stanford graduate who also nurtured aspirations of launching a start up. Abbott cut his teeth in online retail working with industry giant, Amazon.com.

Their union was fated.

In the six months they spent getting their vision off the ground the partners combined their strengths. With Kim's brick and mortar retail pedigree and Abbott's e-commercial expertise, the duo set off to create a site which stands out from the thousands which fuel the $100 billion+ online retail industry.

Their brainchild, SneakPeeq bares their DNA.

As Kim tells it the program, which launched last week, takes its name and inspiration from the offline shopping experience. On their site, you can shop over 150 brands including Nicole Miller to Halston Heritage to gourmet chocolates. Just as you browse a store, find a product you like and peek at the price tag, this program lets you do the same.

Except while that peek might push you away with the high prices -- this one will reel you in with its low ones. And here's why: every single peek at an item (either by you or your friends) pushes the price of the given item lower.

Fun right? Here's where it gets a little complex: each person gets only 10 peeks a day -- so you really have to be committed to try your hand. And prices are not universal. Personal variables like your age, income and job status affect the price you get. (So say an underpaid fashion columnist with an affinity for luxe bags might be charged $150 for a Nicole Miller purse, while a corporate exec looking for the same thing might be charged $236.)

This bias might confuse others, but Kim contends it is what will make it win.

He may have a point. SneakPeeq just emerged from a robust beta phase and is now available as an iPad app and on Facebook. So far it's enjoyed over 300,000 "peeqs," and Kim and Abbot have raised over $2.7 million from investors.

"SneakPeeq offers an element of gaming which makes it fun and competitive," he explains. "Everything is in limited quantity which creates an urgency around it. This makes it more social."

Or more confusing... yet, in this crowded market place where -- SneakPeeq's that just might amount to a sneak attack for success.

Check it out now.


Zandile Blay is founder of The Blay Report and the newly launched Africa Style Daily. She is also Fashion Editor for Essence Magazine Online.