“You don’t need to prove your self-worth to anyone …
if you believe in an idea, be empowered to put yourself as a priority.”
– Natasha Case, Co-founder and CEO of Coolhaus
In 2009, when Natasha Case was in her mid-20s working as an architect for Walt Disney Imagineering, she realized her passion for design went well beyond physical structures. Combining this with her love for creating delicious dairy and non-dairy desserts led to the idea that would become a women-led, women-run ice cream empire.
But it didn’t happen overnight. To figure out initially if her idea had any metaphorical wheels, Natasha would first have to get creative and find some literal ones:
“We bought a postal van with no engine that was masquerading as an ice cream truck and a AAA platinum membership that came with a 200-mile tow, and we towed the truck to Coachella. That’s how we launched the company — that’s how I became an ice cream lady.”
From the start, Natasha knew that the brand was never going to be just about ice cream — every sandwich and pint flavor was a chance to tell her own story, shed light on important issues, and create a unique brand experience.
“I met the other co-founder, my now-wife, Freya Estreller, who had more of a business background, and together we saw that there was an opportunity to make better ice cream, but also to make a brand that we felt represented us. As women, as gay women, for Freya as a woman of color, as millennials — we just didn’t feel that there was this authentic, ‘creator-to-customer’ element happening on the shelves, so we decided, ‘Hey, why not us?’”
Since its humble beginnings at Coachella, Coolhaus has grown tenfold, including food trucks in multiple cities and distribution with more than 7,500 retailers across the country. Natasha’s impressive list of achievements also includes accolades from Zagat and Forbes, being named UCLA’s LGBTQ+ Alum of the Year, as well as serving as a guest judge on Food Network’s Chopped and King of Cones.
More recently, Coolhaus has partnered with other purpose-led brands and initiatives, including Allegro Coffee, which is produced in East Africa by women dedicated to creating positive change and economic equality in the region, and Black Girl Ventures, an organization dedicated to creating access to capital for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs.
“I would say that the biggest thing from the social mission standpoint is how can we use Coolhaus as a platform, as leaders, to empower the next generation of women and girls from diverse backgrounds to also create their entrepreneurial business dreams? That’s something that we know and that’s what we’ve built, so how can we pass that on?”
Join us and learn more about what it truly means to let purpose inform brand development, product innovation, and connection with customers on this episode of OnBrand!