How Natasha Case of Coolhaus is disrupting the dessert space with cutting-edge ice cream creations

Natasha Case_Blog Header

Describe Coolhaus in a few words?

We are an innovative dessert company, specializing (for the time being) in ice cream/ice cream novelties. We are known for thinking outside the box, super unique partnerships, a truly cutting-edge brand identity and an inventive way of entering the marketplace with our trucks, brick and mortars, and now national wholesale distribution.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

After graduating I worked at Walt Disney Imagineering. It was there that my interest in food and architecture really took off; I was hosting dinner parties, making ice cream and baking cookies. That was also the time that I met Freya, who helped me refine what I was doing and create a real business model.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

So I’m a third generation Angeleno, and I grew up in Sherman Oaks. My father was an architect and my mother was an animator at Disney. I attended UC Berkeley and majored in Architecture, and then I went on to study at UCLA and received my Masters in Architecture.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

No, and in fact when I was younger I didn’t necessarily understand it was a path I could take. I sort of came to it by a process of elimination. Looking back, I can see a lot of the characteristics that make a great entrepreneur in myself, like thinking big and outside of the box, enjoying a good challenge… I thought I would be doing something creative, but nothing like this!

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Coachella was the ultimate test. In short, we bought a beat-up postal van on Craigslist with no engine. We had it towed out to the concert grounds and called our new ice cream sandwich line Coolhaus because we were inspired by Rem Koolhaas, the Bauhaus, and because our sandwiches looked like tiny cold houses! That weekend we built up a following, almost overnight, and when we got back to Los Angeles the brand had gone viral. To this day I still can’t believe how incredible the viral impact was: you can never plan or depend on the viral moment, and we felt so lucky that we had the opportunity to build a customer base as quickly as we did.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

There are always going to be obstacles, but it’s all about how you approach them and come to learn from them. I would say one of the biggest challenges has been managing people. When we started the company, we were very young – and it was difficult to get theoretically more experienced service folks to respect you as a newcomer, even though you were their boss. I learned to create systems of checks and balances, and a routine for feedback that allowed us to guide from a bigger picture standpoint. Also, no two employees are alike – so you have to really learn to read people – understand what motivates them and what environments they prosper in best. You have to have patience with yourself as you are growing and evolving too. Maturity as a manager is not going to happen overnight.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I would say overall, I’m most proud of our company culture (which is very connected to our founding roots). We have a super diverse, creative team who are also extremely passionate, disciplined and hard-working. The people who work here and the fans who love us are what make us who we are… and I know a great product can last a decade, but a great culture—that’s a century, a legacy kind of vision.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

“What are you looking for out of the company you want to join?” And my tip is hire slow, fire fast.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Like everyone else, we’re unable to do events and create community experiences with our trucks. People are also wanting to eat healthier more affordably at home, so our new novelties like the dairy-free mini cups are meeting those needs, and are also great for at-home celebrations. Additionally our shop has also become a delivery business, so we’ve really gotten the chance to fine-tune that!

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We want to be the household brand of our generation. Specifically, there’s an incredible opportunity to do that as a culture of women leaders, so to lead and change by example, that alone is a revolution. That’s going to be very meaningful for our generation, to be a powerhouse of women who are behind that brand, who created and are running the vision and brand.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Nothing makes you better at what you do than what you choose to do in the toughest times. It’s one thing to be passionate and motivated when everything is in order, but it takes strength to stay the course when everything’s not.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

You’re gonna make mistakes, and that’s gonna be part of it. It’s all about how quickly you learn from those mistakes. So obviously, if I could go back in retrospect and say, “Okay, that wasn’t a good hire, or should have done that or this,” it’d be great, but really it’s just about failing fast and cutting the cord quickly.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I feel very lucky — We have a new baby and just moved into a great house in a neighborhood we love. We’re able to spend more time together as a family and visit the beach regularly which is sometimes rare for Angelenos!

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely! 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.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an avid golfer! We’re also on a basketball team; we’re very into sports. That energy and teamwork is part of our work.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

A lot of it involves implementing technology programs – Boomerang for gmail (schedule messages, boot non-urgent messages out of your inbox until a later time, set messages to return upon no response), Trello for project management is incredible. I also find if I know what I’m going to wear the night before and bulk make or order food for the week (ie. Klean LA), they end up being huge time savers.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Have a big vision, put it on paper, and hold yourself accountable to that page.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Founder Geisha Garcia on the Evolution of GG Communications

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Geisha Garcia is the Founder of GG Communications, LLC—a digital marketing agency dedicated to elevating the digital presence of ambitious female-led brands through proven digital marketing strategies, as well as advancing the profession of social media through mentorship and education of social media professionals. What…

Cecile Rothschild on the Importance of Family and Close Relationships while Launching Your Own Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Create and Associates is a branding, communications, and design firm. With boundless creativity, imagination, and a dedication to strategic thinking, we build brands that cut through the clutter—and unlock success for my clients. We bring together emotion, art, and rigor to design brand experiences that…

Melissa Wallace, CEO and Co-Founder, on Balance, Trust, and Celebration

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I am the CEO and Co-founder of fivefoottwo marketing, an agency dedicated to early-stage, VC-backed startups. When launching fivefoottwo, we were meeting so many female founders who needed our services but struggled to receive funding. So we started giving them our services for free, which…

Contemporary Artist and Small Business Owner, Leah Devora, on Following Your Instinct

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I created original, custom art with a contemporary edge for businesses and private clients. My site showcases my art. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Meeting dynamic, interesting, and creative women and building a support network. What made you take the leap…

LEO + LAINE’s Lynzee Krohne’s Tips for Teamwork and Embracing all Aspects of your Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Lynzee is the CEO and Founder of LEO + LAINE, and also serves as the Lead Creative Director. In her role, Lynzee manages the day-to-day business operations, and also works closely with the team to strategize, ideate and develop content for local and national clients.…

Kim Bennett of AtlasGuru on Building a Business based on Her Passion and Past Skillset

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: AtlasGuru is a publishing platform for travelers to share their itineraries and travel stories. Before starting AtlasGuru, I spent 15+ years in marketing in New York City and Seattle for lifestyle and consumer companies including Conde Nast, Martha Stewart, Amazon, and Nordstrom. What excites you…

Devika Chand Dandona on Sucess having a Strong Voice while Starting The Devi Collection

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m a wife, mom of 3 humans and 2 fur babies, and am an all-around creative. I have an investment company that focuses on brands and startups. My current portfolio has brands in the clean beauty, sustainable fashion, tech, and wellness spaces. I have been…

How Coach and Consultant Sarai Tave’s Personal Healing Journey Sparked Moonlight Devi

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My name is Sarai Tave. I am 35 years old, a single mom, and the owner of Moonlight Devi and The Singles Network by Moonlight Devi. I am a singles and couples coach, image consultant, and Thetahealing therapist. I help single people break thru their…

Decorating Dream’s Midge Fuller’s Desire to “Go All In” on Her Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I am an interior designer, and I launched Decorating Dreams, which will help my clients see the potential in their homes by guiding them through the process. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am excited to work with Entreprenista because I…

Work-Life Balance and Scaling Your Business with Marketing-Led Business Coach Katrina Aronson

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Katrina Aronson is THE Marketing-Led Business Coach, blending her background in small business marketing and psychology to help creative business owners to get out of their way and see massive shifts. With simple and scalable marketing strategies as her super power, she has grown two…

Fintech Queen, Heather Doyle of CoinQueens, on How to Manage Expectations and Crypto Empowerment

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am excited to connect with women who have had success in web2. I hope to onboard and empower them in web3 through education, investing, and networking. Women are typically not the leading demographic in nascent fintech markets, and CoinQueens is determined to change that in…

CoFounder of ExExperts, T.H. Irwin, on the Importance of Focus and Goal-Setting

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My best friend and I divorced at the same time (drama and cheating ex-husbands), and we had one another leading up to it, during the process, and for everything after. We started the “exEXPERTS and Divorce etc…” podcast to help people in the same way…

Ex-Corporate Ad Pro Kaitlin Villatoro Highlights her Decisions and Insights around Diving into a New Entrepreneurial Path

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m an ex-corporate ad pro, with 11 years of working with top Fortune 500 brands like Apple, Disney, and Corona. Motivated by the desire to be more present for my family and a demanding IVF journey, I left my corporate career to start my own…

Former Fortune 200 Executive, Chris Holter, on the Importance of Welcoming Personal Transformation when Launching your Own Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hello – I am Chris – A former global fortune 200 Executive turned lifestyle entrepreneur, trusted advisor, international speaker, and executive coach. I founded Chris Holter Consulting in 2020. I know firsthand what it is like to be building a business, the challenges you face,…

Beauty and Fragrance Consultant Emilie Mascarell on leveraging past experiences to launch your dream line

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m a fragrance and beauty product development consultant. I launched Emilie Consulting to help companies develop fragrances, candles, and skin care products including product strategy, sourcing, formula and packaging development, testing, vendors relationship, negotiations, production support, and everything until release on the market. What excites…