Isaac Haines, co-founder of Fieldwork Company, explains how he created his company out of a desire to provide items they themselves were searching for.
What inspired you to start Fieldwork Company?
I started Fieldwork about two years ago. I had a passion for working with leather and had started exploring the medium of waxed canvas. I began making products for myself, products I couldn't quite find in stores. I loved the traditional look and feel that waxed canvas and leather had, and how they just seemed to ‘go’ together, and how they made such an incredibly strong product. That has always been something that was very important to me; the durability and longevity of a product. So to answer your question, I guess what truly inspired me was my love for beautiful, well made and good quality goods. Actually having people who wanted to buy what I had managed to create was just a bonus in the end.
What is the essence of your brand?
The true essence of my brand has to be family. My wife and daughter (and soon to be one more little one) is the sole reason I’ve been pouring so much into this small company of ours. I want to build something I can leave behind for them, and to create a legacy for them. I want to support my family doing something I truly love, not just going to work 9-5 and barely getting to see them.
Your products look beautiful. Could you tell us about your design philosophy?
We sell traditional handcrafted leather goods, from keychains to leather journals and backpacks, for the outdoor adventurer. We are currently working on adding duffle bags to our product range as well. My philosophy is simple: ‘less is more’. This is something I really believe in, it is something I feel incredibly strongly about. I strive for minimalism in all of our products, whilst at the same time I really want to optimise their functionality as much as possible. For me, the beauty and the purpose of the product are two factors which need to go hand in hand. When these two essential elements are combined it creates a truly beautiful product.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh boy, I'm still facing challenges! I don’t think Fieldwork has truly ‘arrived’ yet, so to speak, but I would have to say my greatest challenge has been being an artist, being a creative, in a business driven world. There is just so much to starting a self-sustaining business, and that has definitely been a steep learning curve for me. I have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such a great bunch of people who have been there to help me every step of the way.
Is there one piece of advice you would give to other creatives just starting out?
It’s tricky, just thinking of one piece of advice to give as there is so much I have learnt from the whole process, from the very beginning to where I am now, and I still have such a long way to go. I guess the one thing that really helped me develop Fieldwork from the beginning was the saying: ‘progress is better than perfection,’ so I think that would have to be the one piece of advice I would give to anyone just starting out. For me, and I know this to be true for a lot of other creatives, we all tend to be perfectionists, our own biggest critics. We get stuck going over and over the small things, although of course it is these small things that matter so much. Having said that, I can feel myself being hypocritical as I say this, because whilst it is the small things which are everything, sometimes just being able to finish something and to get it out there, despite it having imperfections and flaws, is better than not producing anything at all. There is always time to improve upon it later.