Coolhaus: Chill Out with the GoGirl Couple Who Started the Coolest Ice Cream Brand EVER!
Just in time for summer season, we’re proud to feature our first-ever interracial GoGirl couple whose innovative, designer desserts are taking the frozen aisle by storm. Once told to put their big ice cream idea on ice because they were too young, we’re sure glad these two deliriously driven ladies gave the naysayers the cold shoulder. Here’s the scoop.
What started out as two creative professionals-turned-ice cream connoisseurs purchasing a dilapidated postal truck for $2500 off Craigslist and having it towed to the hot, sun-drenched California desert during the famous Coachella Music Festival to debut their new, next-level, handcrafted ice cream sammies (sandwiches) to a crowd of sweaty, starved music mavens, would soon turn out to be a gourmet, progressive ice cream brand worth over $16 million. A bold, forward-thinking move at the pinnacle of the food truck revolution turned into a viral moment for architect Natasha Case and her realtor wife Freya Estreller. And, Coolhaus was born.
From Truck to Freezer: Getting the Ice Cream Biz Rolling
Founded in 2009 by the millennial, LGBTQ+ couple, Coolhaus was started after the foodie twosome felt underrepresented as millennials, ice cream lovers, and LGBTQ+ women. Legendary brands, as well as newer ones, that graced store shelves in the frozen dessert department were simply missing the mark, melting the discerning duo’s desires for the perfect, premium-grade ice cream innovation. So, Natasha and Freya decided to simply “be the brand they would want to buy.” A line of bestselling, designer desserts, like creative, supersized ice cream sammies to pints jampacked with mouthwatering, sweet and savory mix-ins to cups and cones chockful of scrumptious, fun flavors, Coolhaus really is “Awesome Ice Cream,” just as their famous tagline straightforwardly suggests. No argument there. Let’s not forget their divine, dairy-free varieties made with a proprietary pea protein base that simply tastes too-good-to-be-true and will convert even the most loyal of traditional ice cream enthusiasts. Of course, their cool repertoire of artisan ice cream concoctions offers the go-to classics, such as cookie dough, cookies-and-cream, “dirty” mint chip, snickerdoodle, sprinkles-spiked birthday cake, and Tahitian vanilla, as well as “out of the pint” flavors sure to tantalize your taste buds, like Bananas Foster, Currency Cake, Campfire S’mores, and a cereal-soaked ice cream loaded with chunks of crispy cereal in every lip-licking spoonful. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the brand also offers seasonal picks. The dairy-free, rice milk-based Horchata sammie and Churro Dough Swirl are our next cheat day must-try’s.
While you’ll shell out a pretty penny for the “can’t put down,” hottest ice cream to hit freezers in recent years, with roughly $7/pint and $6 for a single sammie, the premium-grade ice cream made with the freshest ingredients and imaginative flavors will leave you with an inexplicable sadness as you realize your heaven-scent snack is nearing its end with every sublime scoopful. Our GoGirl go-to’s are the Dairy-free Cookie Dough Lyfe and Cookies-and-Cream sammies and the Currency Cake pint – an autumn-inspired carrot cake batter ice cream generously bursting with pieces of candied pecans and swirls of sweet, cream cheese frosting! Even sweeter is that a portion of proceeds goes to Black Girl Ventures, a unique platform dedicated to hosting pitch competitions with live fundraising.
Being the Brand They Would Want to Buy: Creating Culture Around Ice Cream Created for All
Invariably at the forefront of ingenuity, creativity, and cultural progression, the couple continuously strives to infuse their brand identity with positive, impactful messaging through inclusion, community contribution, and advocacy for social change. They hope to inspire the next generation of diverse leaders, founders, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who encourage empowerment for all. Last September, Coolhaus CEO/Co-founder Natasha spoke to GoldieBlox’s Fast Forward Girl summit. Here were her indispensable tips to inspire, educate, empower, and support young women to realize their dreams and live the lives they desired, while making a positive, lasting impact on their community:
Lead by example. Action speaks louder than words.
Be candid about failures, setbacks, and unforeseen obstacles you will undoubtedly face along your journey to business-building success.
Show up for your community by attending events where and whenever you can. Connecting and interacting with teens and young girls will have a huge influence on their road to success and it’s a powerful way of paying-it-forward to the next generation of fierce females.
Be transparent about your own story and be willing to listen to others.
Set aside time to hear EVERYONE’S ideas. Some of the best innovations have come from the most unlikely of sources.
The Secrets to Sweet, Sustainable Success
From their humble, business-making beginnings in the deep California desert to unveil their decadent desserts to current status of being the nation’s leading women-founded and -led ice cream company, Coolhaus specialty ice cream products are available in over 6000 high-end grocery chains from Whole Foods to Thrive Market, including trucks you can find strolling the sunny streets of LA and NYC on any given day, and a flagship shop/Innovation Center in Culver City, California where Natasha and Freya regularly conduct fun, ice cream-making classes! Fast-forward five years when Natasha was named to Forbes’ coveted 30 Under 30 list, marking a major milestone for the women-founded brand. Now a multi-million-dollar brand and growing, Natasha told LA Parent she and Freya grew their trendsetting ice cream company through this forward-thinking, creative, multichannel strategy: food trucks as boutique brand recognition and fast cash flow; brick-and-mortars for innovation and community-building; and big, retail grocery for scale and to emerge as the next big, household name of the current generation. Her secret to breaking the ice (and barriers), as well as competing with legacy brands that have enjoyed household name status for generations? Invest in strategic marketing, eye-catching packaging, and thoughtful, memorable messaging. You really need to think outside the box, or in this case, the pint, to be on the cutting-edge in a competitive industry.
Aside from the familiar brand-building tactics, like employing creative marketing strategies, executing bold ideas, and being forever fearless with the decision-making process, a huge part of Coolhaus’ sustained success comes from inspiring contributory consumption, like what they continue to do with the Currency Cake ice cream flavor proceeds. Using business to break down long-standing, social and gender barriers, creating bottom line-boosting, win-win partnerships/collabs with legacy brands who have established platforms (like what they did with Ritz Crackers and French’s Mustard), and artfully weaving purpose into product sourcing, like the dairy-free option, acquiring non-GMO certification, and minimizing food waste, are other, ingenious ways to poise your brand for long-term success. Natasha explains to Forbes, “I see purpose as a long game. If you’re going to lead with that story in that mission, it helps you build a culture around something bigger than a product can be.” To be a successful entrepreneur, she asserts you need to be a self-starter and have the confidence and conviction to execute your ideas and not be afraid to learn, fail, and grow. “One of my favorite quotes comes from my first angel investor…’Walk through a wall when you don’t know it’s there.’ There’s some negativity when you start. That’s a good thing…Sometimes, done is better than perfect.”
We hope Natasha and Freya’s sweet tale inspires you to launch your big idea! Meanwhile, we highly suggest you grab a colossal-sized Coolhaus sammie and settle in with a sizzling, mid-summer’s read in hand.