086 | Launching with a minimum viable product with Natasha Case, Coolhaus (Part 1)
Natasha Case is the CEO of Coolhaus, a Los Angeles based ice cream company specializing in unique, sweet-meet-savory flavors. The inspiration for Coolhaus started when Natasha was exploring the concept of “Farchitecture” – or, Food + Architecture – in her graduate architecture program. She began baking cookies, making ice cream, and combining them into “cool houses”. In 2009 she met co-founder Freya Estreller, and together they staged Coolhaus’ unforgettable launch in a refurbished postal van at the famous Coachella Valley Music Festival.
In less than ten years, Coolhaus has snowballed into a nationwide company. They now distribute to 6,000+ grocery stores ranging from Whole Foods to Safeway to Publix markets with 30 SKU’s including hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches, artisan pints, and chocolate-dipped bars.
Natasha has been named Forbes 30 Under 30 for food and beverage and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in New York City. She is also the co-host of the Start to Sale podcast, where she invites the brightest entrepreneurial minds to discuss all that it takes to build a company from launch to exit.
We covered a lot of ground in this interview. So much so, that we’re going to break it up into two separate episodes. Episode 86 is Part 1.
On today’s episode, Natasha tells us how studying architecture led her to discover her entrepreneurial spirit and how she turned her side-hustle hobby into a national business. She shares why product development and innovation is not just about market research and data but also about trusting your intuition and how Coolhaus launched with a minimum viable product.
ON TODAY’S EPISODE:
Natasha’s background in architecture and how it inspired her entrepreneurial spirit
How working at Disney Imagineering helped her conceptualize brand storytelling
The pros of combining strengths with a business partner
How Coolhaus is reinventing classic flavors for a new generation
Why trusting your intuition is just as important as market research
The importance of launching with a minimum viable product
How the Coolhaus food truck got 100 miles to Coachella Music Festival without an engine
Download These Quotables to Save and Share
“There’s always that element of surprise and just trying to be as educated and tactical and excited about really meeting that demand as you can be.” – Natasha Case
“We have so much in common with the people that we’re really trying to target, and I think that creates a lot of authenticity in all aspects of the brand.” – Natasha Case
“No spreadsheet will ever tell you the thing that was the hugest risk with the biggest reward, and that’s so much of what entrepreneurship is about.” – Natasha Case
“The entrepreneur will have a little bit of that crazy factor and think, “Well, I can do it and I want to create something from nothing.” – Natasha Case
“I always thought of myself as getting the skills of architecture in a way I would in my head say, or even out loud, that’s beating the system from within. Taking these rules, learning them, mastering them the best I could, and breaking it apart.” – Natasha Case
“Even in the traditional sense of architecture there is entrepreneurship because I think you are… One, you’re an artist, but within this building has to stand up.” – Natasha Case
“I’m a big believer in when things are fun, actually, ironically, so much more can get done. So much more work can get done. ” – Natasha Case
“You put food in front of people and it’s exciting, it’s memorable, it brings people together.” – Natasha Case
“There was nothing on shelf that spoke to us as millennials, and definitely not as women. And so we saw this big opportunity.” – Natasha Case
“We were actually going to be the first food truck to sell at Coachella. And so, now you remember the truck has no engine. How are we going to get to Coachella?” – Natasha Case
“It was just nonstop and then 5,000 Twitter followers in one afternoon. It was like, clearly there’s demand for this.” – Natasha Case
“There were no bells and whistles. I mean it was just putting this idea out there and showing that we had this vision.” – Natasha Case