Space Invader: Natasha Case & Coolhaus
Hey there, queens of the universe. Nasty Galaxy dropped on Tuesday this week (!!!); have you snagged your copy of this linen-bound, full-color, brimming-with-advice, cocktail-party-in-your-lap? It picks up where #GIRLBOSS left off and dives into all the inspirational, bizarre, funny, endearing, glamorous (and a few definitively unglamorous) nooks of Sophia’s life. It’s all in there, and we can’t wait for you to see it.
In the weeks leading up to the release, we’ve been taking you on a journey around L.A. to get to know some of the baddest mamajamas in the galaxy who inspire Sophia on the regular. So far, we've stopped in to visit Nicole Katz of Paper Chase Press, Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, Helen Johannesen of Helen's Wines, stylist Djuna Bel at her gorgeous home, Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, and Sarah Gibson Tuttle of Olive & June. For our last stop, we headed over to Coolhaus for some dessert! Get the scoop and don't forget to pick up your copy of Nasty Galaxy via Nasty Gal, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold!
Peanut butter and jelly. Bert and Ernie. Pizza and ranch dressing. Thelma and Louise. Ice cream and architecture. That last one only seems odd if you've never been to Coolhaus, the architecture-inspired ice-cream sandwich company with which the greater Los Angeles region (and soon, the country!) has fallen in love. Founded in 2009 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, the friends applied their real-estate and design backgrounds as a framework for their love of dessert, bought a beat-up postal truck off Craigslist, and started slinging ice-cream sandwiches at Coachella. The rest, as they say, is history: Now the fleet is up to 10 trucks spread out over three cities; there are two brick-and-mortar stores and you can find Coolhaus product in grocery stores around the world.
We stopped into the Culver City store with a copy of Nasty Galaxy for a lil' sweetness courtesy of co-founder Natasha Case. Check it out!
How would you describe Coolhaus in your own words?
Coolhaus is an all-natural, super premium and awesome dessert company known for its unique ice cream sandwiches, pints and bars, all of which feature sustainably and locally-sourced ingredients. It was founded by Freya Estreller and myself, and it's grown tremendously; we now have a national fleet of 10 trucks and carts in L.A., Dallas and NYC; two brick-and-mortar locations in L.A.; and distribution in over 5,000 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Kroger, and Safeway, plus a few internationally. Coolhaus has drawn accolades and praise from the New York Times, Refinery29, Buzzfeed, and Good Morning America, to name a few, and is a favorite amongst many celebrities, top athletes, and influencers. I am the CEO and co-founder; I would say I run the brand and specialize in merchandising and design, business development, product innovation and marketing strategy.
To you, what is a Girlboss?
A Girlboss is someone who views being a woman in the workspace as having not only equal authority to any leading man, but also the ability utilize and embody femininity as empowering and advantageous. She also seeks to empower and inspire the other women and men around her.
Tell us a little bit about your space. What inspired the aesthetic?
I always want our spaces to speak to our urban roots and architectural vision while maintaining a clear, fun and whimsical side. It ended up being a mix of industrial materials--high ceilings, piping, clean surfaces, brushed concrete floors, and ceramic planters, alongside fun neon signs and LED light strips, massive murals (food porn!), bright furniture accents, mid-century art and lots of Coolhaus merch. Oftentimes folks will walk into our office and ask, "Is this a gallery? A tech space? An incubator?" We're like, "Sort of..."
What role do you see Coolhaus playing in the galaxy of LA?
In the beginning, I think the trucks played a really interesting role in terms of reactivating dead urban spaces and even neighborhoods in L.A.---bringing life through eating and gathering to zones that had been ignored; that was an incredibly powerful moment. It was also great because it really spoke to our architectural mission: food and design working together to make an experience more fun and accessible. Now, building on that legacy, Coolhaus has become much more than a food truck company: I see Coolhaus becoming one of our generation's household brands, particularly in L.A. where we are headquartered. We are always continuing to think outside the box to make a forgotten or bastardized novelty taste a hundred times better and be presented in a really cool, authentic way that draws attention to architects or architectural movements the flavors are named after. We also think Coolhaus can be so much more than even just an ice cream company; we are working on a really exciting product for the cookie aisle called a "whookie," and we plan on continuing to do unexpected products in the food and beverage space with partnerships here in L.A. and nationally. Folks around the country have really turned their focus to L.A. as a hotbed for innovation, so it's exciting to be here and to be a pioneering brand. As for me personally, I am super committed to mentorship--investing, and fostering productive connectivity amongst female entrepreneurs here in L.A. Freya and I would love to create a fund in the future where we invest in and help guide other women looking to make their mark on the business world here and elsewhere.
Anything exciting on the horizon?
We have new products in development, including the "whookie" that I mentioned (think a combination of cookie sandwich and whoopie pie---I feel like there is so much innovation in the cookie sandwich space to be had!), and new novelties like our personal ice cream cookie "deep dishes" and larger-scale ice cream cookie cakes. We also are working on some bite-size novelties. We are looking at 2017 as being a massive year for smart growth and getting closer to that goal of being a household brand around the country.