NailSnaps is an app that will let you import your own Instagram photos to create unique nail stickers, arranged and zoomed with custom settings. It was founded by Angel Anderson, a UX designer, after she struggled to find a way to create nail art out of photos. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Angel about her design background, Santa Monica and NailSnaps.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
Angel Anderson: Is it OK if I say I didn’t initially set out to be an entrepreneur? I consider myself a user experience designer. I’ve been working as a UX designer for about 15 years. The thing that drives me, the thing I’m really passionate about, is making things easy and fun for people to do. In high school and college, I saw my mom struggle with technology. It bummed me out that so many cool things were happening but it was hard for someone — like my mom — who didn’t grow up with a computer to understand how to have fun with these things and how to use them. It becomes a real problem when everything is digital, paying tickets, bills or getting a license. My whole reason for being is really about making things easy for people to use.
EH: Tell me about NailSnaps.
AA: When I discovered that nail wraps were a thing, I fell in love with the idea. I don’t have time for nail polish, or the skill to do the kind of cool, crazy nail art that has become really popular. I thought it was a really great way to enjoy nail art without all the fuss or mess or smelly chemicals that polish has. As soon as I got really excited about it, I became sort of jaded with nail wraps. If nail art is supposed to be all about creativity and personal expression, buying an off-the-shelf, pre-fabricated design really takes all the fun away from it. Nail art is one of the last personal expressions of body art that can be changed really quickly, without the commitment of cutting your hair or getting a tattoo. I created NailSnaps as a way for anyone to create easy, beautiful, totally unique designs. Users can upload an image, a design or create an image and decide placement.
EH: How are you changing the world?
AA: I do think fingernails is an interesting place to be. Nail art is really about personal creativity and personal expression, returning to that capability of personal expression. Right now, there are millions and millions of people sharing the nail art they are doing in their homes. If you look on Pinterest or Instagram, it’s one of the top five tags on either platform, and there are 2.5 million searches for nail art on Google every single month. There’s this giant appetite for nail art and tons of great people creating amazing, cool designs, but they’re limited in their reach. If I’m a super talented nail artist in Idaho, I’m limited to sharing my art with the people who can walk into my salon, and if I’m not a manicurist and I’m just doing this at home, I’m not really able to do it for anyone. I wanted to democratize this and allow for not only the ability to inspire each other, but for a person in Idaho to upload their designs that can be worn by a person in Southern California. So, the next stage of it is not only to be able to upload your own photo, but it to able to upload photos and design for sale.
EH: Why Santa Monica?
AA: I was already living in Los Angeles. I have a lot of design connections on the Westside of town. When I had this idea and wanted to bring it to life, I started talking to designers in this area, and that’s actually how I met my partner. It was very organic, but I’ve actually been very grateful to be in Silicon Beach rather than Silicon Valley. From what I’ve seen, Silicon Valley can be a bit of a boys club, but Silicon Beach is actually very friendly to female entrepreneurs.
EH: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
AA: Partner with somebody. It’s so much work. There’s so much to do in addition to whatever your idea is that is absolutely essential to your success. Partner with someone you like, who shares your values and is just as hard-working as you are.
EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?
AA: NailSnaps is a brand that is all about personal expression. We’ve been excited to see that nail art spans generations and gender lines. It’s really a canvas for you, or the perfect gift for someone else. It’s totally beautiful and unique, but under $20 which means it’s a great gift for nearly anyone on your list.