In 2009, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, both in their mid-20s, wanted to take their nascent ice-cream sandwich side hustle, Coolhaus, to the Coachella music festival to test the idea on a large crowd.
"We went big, like go big or go home," Case tells CNBC Make It. "Almost like cart before the horse. You just do it, and you see what the response is."
Before Coachella, Coolhaus was more of a hobby than a real business. They had sold their ice-cream sandwiches at a craft holiday fair, but that was about it.
Case had studied architecture at Berkeley and got a master's in architecture from UCLA. Estreller graduated from Cornell and worked in real estate development. So the duo used those themes to name their creations: The "Frank Behry" was two sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream in the middle. The "Mintimalism" was two chocolate cookies stuffed with mint chip ice cream.
To sell at Coachella, Case and Estreller needed a food truck. "So we found a beat-up postal van on Craigslist and bought it with my personal credit card," says Case. It cost $2,500. "The door didn't even open, and there were rails on the windows. It was amazing."