Meet the Founders:
Natasha Case + Freya Estreller of Coolhaus

Natasha Case and Freya Estreller got their big break in 2009 when they rolled up to Coachella in a repurposed postal van with their world-class ice cream. After that, Coolhaus took off on a rocket ship. Today, the wife-and-wife duo is beloved by foodies everywhere for their innovative takes on childhood classics.

Recently, we had a chance to chat with Natasha about Coolhaus’ humble beginnings and their continued mission to blaze the trail for other female entrepreneurs.

01 Why did you start Coolhaus?

Freya and I founded Coolhaus in 2009 because we did not feel represented by any of the dessert brands on shelves… not as millennials, not as women, and definitely not as gay women! So we decided to leave our jobs in architecture and non-profit real estate development, and create the brand––from product to culture––that we wanted to buy.

02 What obstacles did you face along the way?

In the beginning we experienced more age-based bias, where people just didn’t take us seriously. Oftentimes, though, this attitude made those individuals less liable to risk-taking that’s necessary to make anything big happen. As a young entrepreneur, you’re not burdened down by experience. And, being millennials, we recognized what other millennials actually wanted, which gave us a level of authenticity.

As a woman, I have experienced moments where I’ve been outnumbered in a room. I do enjoy the process of working with both women and men, and I enjoy being part of the change that I’m hoping to see. As a gay woman, I’ve also had a slightly different journey. It has actually been a positive factor — I know a number of other lesbian CEOs and founders.

03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Here are some of my tips!

  1. Apply your skills. You have a LOT of them. In challenging times, you’ll think about how to apply them in innovative ways.
  2. Think of ideas that are “boom or bust” proof. Ice cream is good in a recession! People may not opt the luxury or higher cost items, but they’ll always seek joys and indulgences.
  3. Help team members accomplish their dreams along with the dreams of the company. Align your mission with theirs! You should always be thinking of ways to make that happen.
  4. Open communication has a lot to do with transparency,– but a lot more to do with your willingness to listen.
  5. Be humble about change. When you’re listening to the needs of your team, things will start to look different. Trust that these changes are signs of strength.
  6. Make time to hear people’s ideas. There’s no designated funnel through which someone should be able to express them. If you receive feedback from all different channels, you’re bound to find good ideas.

04 What’s on the horizon for Coolhaus?

We just launched our new Queens’ Coffee! We used Allegro Coffee’s Three Queens Blend because of their work in supporting women farmers. They use The three East African coffee lots in the blend – it’s a shining example of how determined women producers can shift power dynamics and influence their communities in positive ways.

We have a new dairy sammie flavor called the OG: our vanilla ice cream with double chocolate cookies. In June, we’re coming out with our dairy-free Pride flavor called EnjoyMINT for All– a mint base with chocolate cookie crumbs and a purple marshmallow swirl. Lastly, we have our new dairy-free mini cups and multi-serve dairy sandwiches! Those are going to be on shelves this spring.

05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?

I believe that if you are passionate about what you do, it only makes you more passionate when you become a mom. Now I am growing Coolhaus not only for myself and my wife Freya, but also for our son Remy and our new baby girl on the way, I hope to inspire them with my badass ice cream legacy. This makes me think about my work in a bolder and bigger way than ever before. It fuels my drive and passion to take things to the next level.

12 comments

  1. Lynn says:

    I loved your vegan ice cream sandwiches until I noticed that they contain palm oil. I don’t purchase products containing palm oil of any kind even ” sustainable” as it still caused the destruction of rain forest and wildlife. Would you consider finding an alternative oil that doesn’t hurt animals and the environment ?

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      We will pass this question and concern onto Coolhaus and hopefully will have a response to you soon. Thank you for your valuable feedback!

  2. Sha Jones says:

    Coolhaus Ice Cream is amazing! Bristol Farms buys the most delicious food. Our current favorites are Matzo Chips and Bristol Farms Mocajete Salsa.

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      Oh, we are so happy to hear that you love these items. Thank you for being a loyal shopper.

  3. Adreanna Provencher says:

    We love you. Actually had your truck visit our company. All of our employees loved it so much. Thank you. Your workers were very kind.

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      We will pass these compliments onto Coolhaus. They will love reading this!

  4. lisa diamond says:

    Love your story and love your ice cream! More vegan options please!!

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      We will pass on the vegan ice cream request to Coolhaus. So happy you enjoyed reading the story and that you love their ice cream. We do too!

  5. NH says:

    I am a big fan of coolhaus ice cream. Someday I’d like to have my own artisan ice cream shop. Thank you for the inspiring story.

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      We are thrilled to read that you were inspired by their story! Coolhaus is the best 🙂

  6. Judi Morcos says:

    I am trying to enter the contest. My brother buys me the churro ice- cream weekly.

    1. Leslie Thomas says:

      We hope you win!!!

Comments are closed.