There Are No Truly Bad Decisions; It's All About Picking Up The Pieces and Evolving
Natasha Case | Co-Founder & CEO, Coolhaus
Natasha Case founded Coolhaus in 2009 with Freya Estreller after she was working in architecture at Walt Disney Imagineering. They launched their architecturally-inspired, unique ice cream sandwich company from their barely drive-able postal van at the Coachella Music Festival to an audience of 100,000. They built a loyal following over the festival weekend and returned to LA to an abundance of viral press, a rapidly building social media following, and an eager foodie audience. Since then, Natasha has been named a Forbes 30 under 30 Food & Beverage, Zagat 30 Under 30, Linked in 10 under 35 for Food & Leisure, as well as being featured in many national publications and radio like Cosmo, Dwell, and NPR, and TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped, Barefoot Contessa, Unique Sweets, Good Morning America, King of Cones, Andy Cohen Live and many more. The company has become one of the leading innovative small dessert businesses, growing significantly to include 4 trucks and 2 storefronts in LA, 2 trucks and one cart in NYC, and 4 trucks in Dallas, Texas. Moreover, consumers can now find Coolhaus’ pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches, hand-dipped bars, and hand-packed pints in 5,000+ gourmet grocery stores nationally ranging from Whole Foods to Safeway Albertson’s, and internationally in Asia and the Middle East. Today Natasha works as the CEO of Coolhaus, creating new product opportunities from development to design, building new relationships and innovating ideas that keep Coolhaus on top of it's game as zealous expansion continues. This is her story.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Los Angeles, California
TELL us A BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO WHERE YOU’VE GOTTEN TO TODAY.
Geographically I am a native Angeleno. I went to UC Berkeley and studied abroad in Rome. After graduation, I headed back to Los Angeles for grad school at UCLA which really kept me in Los Angeles while growing Coolhaus. Now, Coolhaus extends nationwide in wholesale and we have a people on the ground in New York and Dallas. Coolhaus has really taken me all around the country...and world!
TELL us ONE WAY EXERCISING LEADERSHIP HAS ALWAYS COME EASY TO YOU, AND ONE WAY IT HAS CHALLENGED YOU.
Philosophically, I like to inspire and lead because I feel passionate about what I do and I like spreading that passion through collaboration. The harder part of leadership is figuring out how to motivate and manage people with technical metrics.
NAME ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING LEADERSHIP ROLES YOU HAVE HAD, AND BRIEFLY TELL ME WHAT MADE IT SO.
Being the CEO of Coolhaus is really a dream come true. It allows me to be both unique and driven which is really the best of both worlds. I'm able to be creative within constraints.
WHAT IS THE BEST AND WORST DECISION YOU'VE EVER MADE?
The best decision I ever made was deciding to take the risk with Coolhaus instead of taking the "traditional" path. My second best decision ever was going to my friend’s party even though I had ripped my pants because I met my wife that night.
I don't really believe in worst decisions as long as you learn from them. There are no truly bad decisions; it's all about picking up the pieces and evolving.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER TO FEMALE LEADERSHIP?
Honestly, the climate we are in. Women need to be proactive, not reactive to sexism. We can't wait around and expect to see results.
WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE GENERATION OF WOMEN BEHIND YOU?
Turning the tides and getting into these positions that are male dominated. There is power in numbers and the more women that get into the fields the better we represent the gender. We have to go for it and get it!
WHAT WOMAN INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
So many! Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Graham, Alice Waters, Serena Williams, Lena Dunham, etc.. These all all empowered women who are thoughtful and really take the time to craft a message. They are game changers in their respective fields!