It takes 25 to 50 years for saddle leather to break down in a landfill. That’s what Lindsay Field (MBA '07) discovered after she cold-called a saddle manufacturer in Denver to find out what they did with scrap leather once they cut out their saddle, chaps and bridle forms. “We toss it,” they told her. Really? “Can I come and see if you have any usable pieces?” she asked. Which led her to their warehouse, where she found herself knee-deep in perfectly good leather — dumpsters full of the stuff. So she struck a deal. She’d buy 20 pounds on the spot and see what she could do with it.
While the idea of working with scrap leather was new, (the largest leather off-cuts were in the neighborhood of 11 inches x 7 inches) Field had always been interested in fashion. As an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship, she and two MBA classmates developed an equestrian apparel business plan and entered the McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Field had always ridden horses. Her mother owned a boarding and training facility in Iowa when Field was young. “I was just thinking in terms of what my sisters and I would wear,” she says of her inspiration. “I was looking for a stable-to-street look — something you could wear in the barn and then walk around town in.”
Today, that’s the guiding philosophy of field & field, the company she founded in 2012 based on her visit to the saddle manufacturer. The beautifully crafted handbags, wristlets, laptop sleeves and dog leashes are constructed with simple, clean lines from gorgeous leathers and are available online, in tack shops around the country and at local Denver markets. Demand has been such that she’s about to debut large tote bags, the size of which will necessitate using new hides. One of the keys to her success, she says, lies in reaching out to her MBA classmates: “I’m not an expert in finance or operations or accounting. I’m constantly reaching out to them and leveraging those friendships and networks. And they’re happy to help.”