About 10 years ago, Natasha Case and her co-founder brought their brand Coolhaus across the country by selling ice cream out of a beat-up postal truck on the streets of Los Angeles. To help Coolhaus become a domestic name and introduce its products to the entire world, Case has embraced the power of leadership in her role as an ice cream shaman.
Natasha said, \”Tapping into the inspiration and the spirituality of other people is what it takes to do this. Sometimes I sit there thinking, why are they listening to me? Why do they believe in what I say and what I think? And of course I have 10 years to show for it. That\’s something that I know I can bring to the table. I really love to bring out the coolest ideas and the most creativity out of the people on my team.\”
Case and Freya Estreller (now married to each other) started this venture when they bought a broken down postal van and had it towed to Coachella to sell their finest ice cream sandwiches. The concept turned out to be an immediate hit.
Case said, \”We saw the opportunity to reinvent and elevate the ice cream category, which had been sitting sadly with no innovation and no real brands that spoke to millennials and definitely not women.\”
Women are key to the Coolhaus brand. Not only is the brand founded by women, Case said, its corporate team of 14 members is filled with \”empowered women leaders.\”
\”It speaks to how we make things and how we think about the product and our audience. We have authenticity in that dialogue with our audience,\” she said.
Coolhaus\’ homebase of Los Angeles also plays a significant role in that dialogue.
\”The vibe of our brand is very bohemian. It is not being afraid to be expressive. It\’s very warm. It has that California kind of love and joy built into it. We let the brand be who we are. It\’s letting it be more organic and authentic and not being afraid to be really expressive and silly,\” she said.
It\’s a brand that has promised and delivered. In 2016, Coolhaus purchased in $7 million in revenues, Case said. She expects revenues to climb by $15 million to $17 million this year. The company has received a funding of $13 million. Coolhaus\’ current line of 42 products can now be found in 7,500 retailers, two of its own scoop shops and trucks in three cities. Chocolate Chip Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sammie, Street Cart Churro Dough Pint, Chocolate Molten Cake Pint and Dairy Free Cookie Dough Sammie are some its top selling items. Mini sandwiches are scheduled to launch in 2020.
As Coolhaus has grown, so has Case\’s self-belief as a leader.
She said, \”When you\’re a young leader, as I was at 25 when we started, you\’re figuring yourself out too. So you have to be patient with yourself and you have to grow your team and really make sure that you 100 percent believe in who you\’re bringing in and that they fully believe in the brand, because there\’s just no time to waste otherwise.\”