It’s not everyday we hear how one went interning from Walt Disney to founding one of US’ most successful ice cream companies but today jut so happened to be my lucky day. Full of incredible passion, Natasha Case, the CEO behind Coolhaus, shares how a little bit of grit, managing burnout, and the right team can create a nationally loved product and movement.
Sounds like Coolhaus has gone through multiple stages of growth, and likely with that your growth as a Founder to CEO. What are you striving to achieve for yourself personally, after being in business for over 10+ years?
We want to be the household brand of our generation. Specifically, there’s incredible opportunity to do that as a culture of women leaders – so to lead and change by example… that alone is a revolution. That’s going to be very meaningful for our generation, a powerhouse of women who created and are running the vision and brand.
Coolhaus has such a strong brand voice. What advice do you have for new or starting entrepreneurs on establishing that kind of brand?
As an entrepreneur, being the face of a brand can feel intimidating — especially when you’re growing over the years. As a leader, discovering your management style takes years, too. In the beginning, it really was a case of faking it until I made it. Confidence is everything — even if you don’t always know what you’re doing, being bold and self-assured will help you become the type of leader you aspire to be.
Sometimes entrepreneurship is not always what comes across in social media and the press. Can you share a time that you felt outwardly different to how you felt internally (i.e. real vs “perfect”)?
Coolhaus went through a big change when Freya, my wife and co-founder, decided it was best to no longer be involved in the day to day of the brand. At the time nothing that was outward facing really reflected the major change but for me it was a big adjustment personally and professionally. Ultimately it became a huge step forward for my overall growth and the company has evolved so much with her as an advisor. We speak openly about this often and are proud of how far we’ve come!
There are ups and downs running a business of your size. Have you ever felt like “I can’t do this anymore” and if so, how did you recover and grow from it?
The main thing I’ve taken away from this journey is to expect roadblocks, no matter how well you plan. The nature of running a startup is that you’re going to have obstacles — whether it’s a broken-down truck or getting turned down by investors. By embracing challenges and taking setbacks in stride, you’ll realize just how capable you are — whether in the workplace or outside of it.
At the end of the day, if your side hustle or passion keeps you up at night, if you have a compelling story, and if others believe in what you’re doing, it’s worth pursuing. Whatever you’re doing in life, trust your gut — there will always be discouraging people you come across, but with a little grit, self-confidence and the right team, you can succeed.
What does “wellthy” mean to you? How do you ensure you have strong boundaries between life and work?
In the early years of Coolhaus, I had to put other elements of my life on hold in order to devote 100% of my time and energy to my business to make it as wonderful as I knew it could be. Now, with an excellent team around me, I’ve been able to take a step back and focus on my family. Although you may come across a few chaotic moments, you have to learn to accept that life is never going to be in perfect equilibrium. You just have to enjoy the ride, and if you love what you do, you’ll never really work a day in your life! When work is fun and you are passionate your relationship with work is healthier and it becomes less stressful to disconnect.