Until Instagram offers up a "click to buy" button, there's an app that provides the closest thing to that dreamy experience. House Account (for iPhone & iPad; iTunes, free) gives users the visual pleasure of a style-oriented feed while offering the ability to buy the items in those photos. The app lets boutique owners—including some of the country's choicest spots, like New York's Kirna Zabete, Atlanta's Morgan Kylee, and Charleston's Hampden Clothing—upload photos of their shop's inventory in real time. You get an intimate behind-the-scenes look at their brick-and-mortar vibe with photos of their stores' displays and salespeople in action.
With more than 400 independent boutiques (and growing), including home shops and private ateliers, there's plenty to scroll through. Lots of looks—like a paint-splattered Raquel Allegra tank we spied at Dallas' Cabana—include price, size, and availability. Ready to buy or have questions? One click lets you chat directly with the shop's salespeople. Texting not instantaneous enough? Click another button to call the store directly.
House Account's creator, Laura Vinroot Poole (pictured, above), was inspired to build the app after she launched and subsequently closed an e-commerce site for her high-end Charlotte, N.C., boutiques Capital and Poole Shop. "It's hard to compete online with the big sites. Plus, I didn't like that there's no sense of interaction between the customers and buyers online," she says. "I wanted to be able to build the kind of personal client relationships we had in Charlotte with more shoppers all over the country."
Her e-comm may have fizzled but the app has brought lots of eyeballs—including fans Angie Harmon and The Bachelorette star Emily Maynard—and sales. One sure sign of success? Poole recently sold a $20,000 wedding gown in real time that she posted on her feed from the Paris couture shows.