From a monolith to composable commerce in under 16 weeks: An interview with Isaac Kuehnle-Nelson, Engineering Team Lead at Happy Socks

October 13, 2022
From a monolith to composable commerce in under 16 weeks: An interview with Isaac Kuehnle-Nelson, Engineering Team Lead at Happy Socks

What started with a couple of Swedish friends with a big idea has become a global phenomenon. Inspired by the life around us, Happy Socks has helped people across the globe express themselves through color and creativity since 2008. 

Using Brink Commerce API as the backbone, the company has now launched the next step in its digital journey. A complete platform migration in under 16 weeks!

We sat down with Isaac Kuehnle-Nelson, Engineering Team Lead at Happy Socks, to talk about how Brink Commerce API has supported the Happy Socks team in shifting to composable commerce.

From a monolith to focused microservices

Happy Socks have been growing quickly since its launch. Unfortunately, the past tech stacks have been unable to keep up with the growth rate, and the company was stuck with a Magento instance that tried to do too many things at once but achieved very little. The team wanted to migrate away from the monolithic, closed system to something more controlled and focused, to be able to work with microservices.

A fully detached approach

While looking for alternatives, the Happy Socks team compared many options, including large global platforms and local Stockholm companies, each with its unique technical and architectural view on eCommerce. However, the Brink Commerce vision of a fully detached back-end where each component only deals with its core functionality was the one that most aligned with their strategy and intended way of working.

A massive shift in under 16 weeks

The Happy Socks team has had a headless approach to building and implementing functionality. This helped them get a head start, and the combined Happy Socks and Brink Commerce teams could migrate everything to the new composable commerce ecosystem in under 16 weeks. 

"It was a massive shift away from that kind of old-school architecture to something new."

Moving from an older monolithic platform, Happy Socks identified several critical requirements for their new composable commerce strategy:

Reduced time-to-market. Adapting to changing consumer trends is crucial to staying relevant. With the true headless architecture in Brink Commerce API, Happy Socks will have total control over the customer experience. And the tooling available to experiment and iterate freely.

Reduced dependency. Complete control also makes Happy Socks less dependent on the previous platform's development pace and lock-in effects. In addition, since Brink Commerce API is framework agnostic, Happy Socks will not be held back by the scarcity of specific legacy developer skills. 

Sustainability. Happy Socks is constantly working on new ways to introduce sustainable practices to operate responsibly. Brink Commerce API offers them a way to use less of our planet's resources. Renewable energy sources and optimized energy usage methods make the carbon footprint one of the smallest in the industry.

Capacity scaling. Brink Commerce API uses distributed serverless infrastructure with autoscaling capabilities, with a 15-20 ms reaction time. So instead of planning weeks and months in advance, the Happy Socks team can launch major campaigns or drops with confidence. A distributed serverless architecture also means they can offer the same low-latency experience to consumers globally - Brink Commerce API is running in parallel in 60+ data centers in 19 countries.

Future-proofed ecosystem. Brink Commerce API acts as the key component in a composable commerce strategy, giving Happy Socks the freedom to implement other best-of-breed features to create a future-proofed ecosystem. Built using an API-only approach, the commerce API also allows Happy Socks to quickly replace components as needs change.

Reduced cost. The company also identified reduced costs as crucial for further growth. For example, dynamic running costs instead of fixed prices ensure better alignment between performance and economy. The company also wanted to avoid the lengthy and costly redesign projects of an old legacy platform.

Result: No downtime, Increased speed, higher conversion rates, and more functionality output

The implementation of Brink Commerce API and the other components in the ecosystem has enabled Happy Socks to work with small dedicated queues instead of one massive one for everything. And instead of having siloed-off teams maintaining Magento, the groups can now coalesce and deliver much more meaningful functionality for the customer experience in the back and front end. Furthermore, they have seen increased site speeds, and the conversion rates have shot up. 

Project duration (weeks)

ms

Downtime during ‘go live’

External organizations involved

Integrated systems and services

Happy Socks

Composable Commerce

Ecommerce

Headless