Jon Hathaway

Jon Hathaway

Helping NailSnaps: A mobile manicure app with its internal makeover

Applying a fresh design to an order processing system for an astronomically successful global startup like NailSnaps in three days is exactly the type of challenge we love to get involved with as an AWS Partner. Working in tandem with the NailSnaps team, we leveraged the benefits of AWS’ serverless technologies to give NailSnaps confidence in their order processing capabilities through massively scalable, reliable, on-demand managed services. Because without function, form doesn’t mean a thing.

Toxic chemicals. Outrageous prices. Hours spent literally sitting and watching paint dry. For years, the nail art industry’s been mired in outdated and expensive practices. NailSnaps is etching away at that by helping its customers exchange their salons for their smartphones. Their mobile-social platform is giving its users a better way to create, share and wear nail art by empowering them to earn money from selling their designs—or, in the words of Founder and CEO Angel Anderson, “We’re helping women monetize creativity rather than just getting more ‘likes’ on Instagram.”

People are quickly taking notice of NailSnaps’ eye-catching design: In just 18 months, their user base has grown to 24 countries (and counting!) across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and they’ve been recognized on Michelle Phan’s Beauty Blog and Apple’s Best New Apps List. They’ve achieved this exponential growth and recognition because of their emphasis on delivering new features quickly.

NailSnaps looked gorgeous, but they needed a little glitter and growth to accommodate their expanding user base.

People couldn’t get their hands on NailSnaps—or rather, NailSnaps on their hands—quick enough. The app’s multi-party order processing system needed to be expanded to accommodate their exponential growth. Plus, NailSnaps had expanded their business to include Shopify, too, but as Angel said, “Shopify’s back-end is very different to ours.” Naturally, they needed to add a couple coats there to make sure everything was compatible.


Eager to buff up their ordering system, NailSnaps turned to us.

They were already utilizing AWS, and through this network they were directed to one of our monthly meet-ups in Las Vegas. We got together with NailSnaps for a half-day, no-commitment discovery session focused on knowledge sharing. Their VP of Engineering, Victoria Cail, clearly communicated the shades they wanted to incorporate into their order queueing, tracking, analytics and scalability aspects. We utilized visual modelling of NailSnaps’ order processes to paint a picture of our services and provide them with potential integration options. “My brain was full three hours in,” said Victoria. “It was brilliant.”

The three-day engagement was structured with a DevOps-oriented approach that combined expertise across NailSnaps and our own team, working together as one. The commitment and enthusiasm to collaborate from NailSnaps’ leadership and engineering teams were critical factors to the success of the engagement—we provided some of the brains, which they helped integrate with the beauty of their app.


Patterns don’t just look good—they also function pretty well, too.

The solution we arrived at with NailSnaps involved identifying and mapping repeatable patterns in their order processing system to on-demand AWS services. By linking the patterns with automated notifications, it became easy to identify where extra coats needed to be added. Plus, by using consistent architectural patterns for message queueing, NailSnaps had the confidence that their order processing system would scale easily and reliably. With AWS serverless technology for their order processing, they now only have to pay for the on-demand resources needed to process an order. This reduces their admin workload and allows them to focus on maintaining the order data environment, not the processing infrastructure.

With a flawless new internal design and a robust knowledge base, NailSnaps shines with a new luster.

Supported by well-documented design patterns and our follow-up mentoring, NailSnaps continues to identify new opportunities to adapt and apply the knowledge acquired from our collaboration. As they continue to release new features and scale their systems, there’s a reinforced level of confidence in their architectural decisions and design choices they’re making—it’s a work of art, inside and out.

Angel mirrored Victoria’s sentiments. “I never felt like there was a black box of mystery. I felt plugged in to what was going on even though I wasn’t there and am not technical. I got a succinct write-up at the end so I know exactly what HATech did for me.”

As NailSnaps continues on its app maintenance and expansions, they know that they’re never alone: the mentoring services offered to them during their three-day session with us are open-ended. They can return to work in our environment, soak up the technology and atmosphere, be inspired, and ultimately gain even more skills and tools adding to their palette to help them with their continued success.

If there’s one thing that can be said for both the success of NailSnaps and us, it’s to never underestimate a single detail. As we both know, even the smallest canvases can tell the biggest stories.

It’s the picture of a successful hand-in-hand collaboration—with a little added sparkle.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You must be logged in to post a comment.