With its sleek design and modern insulation technology, South African company Fieldbar has redefined the traditional cooler. The products are now even stocked in the London luxury department store Harrods.
Serial entrepreneur Lee Hartman conceived Fieldbar almost 20 years ago at a gathering in Clifton Beach, Cape Town. He noticed the inferior quality of the coolers used, which lacked sufficient compartments for organization and were visually unappealing. “I just looked at them and thought, ‘These manufacturers don’t even try anymore.’ I found that a real shame because it’s a really sociable product. When we were doing our research for Fieldbar, someone said, “You’re never in a bad mood when you’re packing a cooler.” “There’s this kind of inherent emotion that no one has thought about building a brand around,” he remarked.
Hartman, considering how to position the product, took inspiration from South Africa’s reputation as a pioneer of luxury safari experiences. “If you ask the question, ‘Why would anyone care about a cooler made in Cape Town?’ “, the answer would be: “Because these guys come from a safari heritage where they understand that you have to go to remote places where it’s hot and dusty, but still providing a well-designed and well-thought-out experience”, he explained.
Read our full interview with Lee Hartman: From South Africa to Harrods – The story of the Fieldbar cooler brand