‘Why would someone care about a cooler box that’s made in Cape Town?’

Fieldbar cooler boxes are manufactured in Cape Town, South Africa.

With its elegant design and modern insulation technology, South African company Fieldbar has redefined the traditional cooler box. The products are now even stocked by luxury London department store Harrods.

Serial entrepreneur Lee Hartman conceived Fieldbar nearly 20 years ago during a gathering on Cape Town’s Clifton Beach. He noticed the inferior quality of the cooler boxes in use, which lacked sufficient compartments for organisation and were visually unattractive. “I just looked at them and thought, ‘These manufacturers aren’t even trying anymore.’ I thought it was such a pity because it’s a really sociable product. When we did our research for Fieldbar, somebody said, ‘You’re never in a bad mood when you pack a cooler box.’ It has this kind of built in emotion that nobody has thought of building a brand around,” he remarked.

Hartman, contemplating how to position the product, drew inspiration from South Africa’s reputation as a pioneer in luxury safari experiences. “If you ask the question, ‘Why would someone care about a cooler box that’s made in Cape Town?’, the answer would be, ‘Because these guys come from a safari heritage where they understand going into remote places where it is hot and dusty, but still having 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 cooler box brand Fieldbar

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