Us ladies know that empowered women, empower women. With fearless attitudes and a serious love for food and architecture, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller joined forces to develop a business that would excite the community. They spontaneously launched Coolhaus during Coachella 2009 in a renovated postal truck. Their aim was to create ice cream flavors that captured familiar experiences and memories, which you can see through signature blends such as Milkshake and Fries.
We are stoked to dive deep with a fellow proud, woman-owned business that blends innovation, curiosity, and heart so effortlessly. Read on to learn how the founder, Natasha Case moves her business through leadership, team building, and how she balances work and life.
Tell us about your transition from graduating architecture school to starting Coolhaus. What inspired this jump into building a business?
My partner, Freya Estreller and I started baking cookies, making ice cream, and combining them into “cool houses” in 2008. With mutual backgrounds in the design and real estate fields, we began naming our ice cream sandwiches after architects and architectural movements that inspired us – and eventually decided to take our new found passion (dubbed “Farchitecture,” or Food + Architecture) to our hometown streets in Los Angeles.
After a few days on Craigslist (and some time convincing their families they weren’t crazy), we found and bought a beat-up old postal van, trekked out to the world-famous Coachella Valley Music Festival with our ice cream in April 2009 to make our debut, and, well…the rest is history.
Why ice cream?
Not only is it delicious, but it’s a great canvas for experimentalism. There are so many options with flavors, textures, ingredients that you can really create almost anything.
What influences your eclectic assortment of flavors?
I’m a foodie, so I’m inspired by real-life, every day food experiences. I can be eating something delicious and think, “Wow, that would be a great ice cream.” We are also driven by our clients – we want to offer them delicious and exciting options.
What has been one of your biggest challenges as a businesswoman?
Money is always challenging. Learning how to get raise and how to spend it the right way. Also, building a good team around can also be a challenge, you really have to rely on instinct and intuition.
Yes, totally. Learning how to professionally handle money and build a team are definitely real challenges. Let’s dive into the topic of team building a bit more. Is there a rule of thumb you’ve developed or resource you use when it comes to knowing who to collaborate with and who not to?
As far as team building, the biggest keys are sharing a vision and being an inspiring leader beyond the day to day tasks of the business are. It's possible to drive your team to kick ass and have a great time doing it. For collaboration, consider the shared equity and the effort that is going into you. Before initiating a business collaboration ask yourself these three questions:
1. What kind of outcome are you going to get and vice versa?
2. In what ways will it move the dial?
3. And most importantly, is what you are achieving together truly original?
If you could offer one tip to someone starting a new venture, what would it be?
Think BIG and walk through a wall when you don’t know it’s there….
Could you tell us about a time you had to brace yourself and walk through a wall?
Everyday! It's a constant. At Coolhaus every day is innovation, pushing the edge, working up against deadlines, fine tuning product and packaging. There are so many battles, but I truly love problem solving battles that are all about ice cream and cookies!
We love that Coolhaus embraces being a certified women-owned business. Why is this aspect of your business particularly important / special to you?
This is such an important cause, overall, and has been a challenge our World faces, and particularly in the food business. Many don’t expect a woman to be the owner, so to change this you have to lead by example…..
To us, no matter what type of work you do it’s important to balance your work load with self care. What has been your experience in creating this balance?
Take advantage of the flexibility you can have in your schedule as an entrepreneur. Don’t work nonstop, don’t over do it – allow yourself to take breaks and enjoy some of the freedoms associated with being the boss.
I will love more by…
Recognizing the meaningful contributions that the people around me are making to our World.
What are you excited about for Coolhaus?
Continuing to innovate the category and gain notoriety for being a women-owned business. We also have some exciting varieties coming including a Holiday collection, which will launch in the Fall.