We're thrilled to keep bringing you updates from MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a series spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields.
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Architecture and ice cream may sound like an unlikely combination, but bringing these two concepts together created a recipe for success for Natasha Case, co-founder of the original hipster ice cream truck, Coolhaus. After landing what many would consider a dream job as a Disney Imagineer straight out of graduate school, Case couldn’t shake the idea that she could use architecture for something bigger. For her, that meant blending her love for architecture with food, she explains in episode six of our Second Life podcast.
Inspired by a critique from a professor who likened an architecture model she made to a layer cake, Case began to wonder why that had to be a bad thing. “I was like this is it, food and architecture. There’s something here and I can really do something interesting,” says Case. While working at Disney, Case began playing with this idea more and more, beginning to make ice cream cookie sandwiches with punny names inspired by great architects and design movements (think Frank Berry and Mintimalism). What started as a way to lighten the mood at her office during the 2008 recession became a gourmet dessert company with a cult following.
Case soon met Freya Esteller, who would become her co-founder and later wife. The two were 25, living at home, and barely in the workforce. “We had nothing to lose,” Case says. After a quick Google search of hipster ice cream trucks revealed zero competition, Coolhaus (another architectural pun) was born.
Countless mishaps and hustles later, Case and Esteller are running a thriving business with trucks across the country, a brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles, and original flavors of ice cream stocked in grocery stores to boot. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs? Push yourself. “I think you kind of are always biting off more than you can chew. Like you kind of have to push yourself, you know, to that extreme and then scale it back.” This method has clearly worked for Case, who has been able to pursue her passions for both food and architecture. Now, she considers Coolhaus to be the “Apple of ice cream” because her dream for the future is to continually innovate the products everyone loves.
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