This post is part of our “Startup Stories” series – where we feature select Designli clients with the goal of highlighting their products, their inspiration, and what has motivated them to tackle the world of building a digital startup.
For the last couple of decades, Roger Dickson and his business partner, Scott Dooley, have been on a mission to help kids grow and build character through sports. Their company, The Locker Room, is much more than an online platform. It’s a mentorship and coaching opportunity that’s designed to serve student-athletes from a variety of economic and educational backgrounds. In this interview, Roger shares his vision for the company, the challenges he’s faced bringing it to life, and what he’s learned along the way.
Tell me a bit about The Locker Room and what its mission is.
The Locker Room offers a web-based platform to showcase student-athletes’ skills and development over time, while simultaneously providing mentorship and coaching from our dedicated, trained Strategists.
Students create profiles featuring their chosen sport, position, and stats, as well as other information. They can upload photos and videos of themselves doing drills and executing techniques. Strategists in different territories will work with the athletes, one-on-one, to improve their techniques and help with training, agility drills, nutrition, etc., based on each individual’s needs.
The Locker Room platform also provides information on colleges and the specific requirements and preparation necessary for each student-athlete to be accepted into the colleges in which they’re interested. Another benefit of the platform is that it allows approved, background-checked coaches, scouts, and recruiters to join the platform for free, giving them an opportunity to locate student-athletes to recruit and the ability to track them as they “grow up” in the sport.
The Locker Room also has the unique element of giving back — helping fund small organizations and clubs that lack funding. We plan to continuously grow this arm of The Locker Room.
What’s your origin story? How did your company come to be?
For many years, my business partner and I have worked with kids in various sports programs. We’ve always been interested in helping kids build character and confidence through sports. Realizing that not all kids have an equal opportunity due to their socio-economic status and the resources available to them, we began brainstorming ideas on how to help the younger generation, by providing tools for success that were not available to us as young people.
As we began working this idea, we realized we could do even more than we originally dreamed by building a platform to help parents and youth connect with people in the fields of sports, academics, etc., bringing them together to help every young person achieve their goals. The Locker Room is our dream turned into a reality — it will be the Gold Standard!
How has the current pandemic affected your business?
This pandemic has slowed down the launch date for The Locker Room. Originally, we were supposed to launch in May, but our launch date has now been pushed back until August. So that’s been a challenge. However, the pandemic situation has also provided an opportunity for the public to learn video platforms and other technologies that will help them understand and better utilize our platform.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running a company? And what’s the hardest?
The most rewarding thing about starting and running The Locker Room is having the opportunity to assist parents who truly want to help their kids but don’t have the time or resources to invest as much as they would like due to their work schedules and other obstacles. We know that The Locker Room will provide parents with the tools to help their kids succeed in sports and in life.
The most challenging thing I’ve faced is doing everything possible to ensure we get everything right. It is critical that our vision for the platform fully comes to life, especially when it comes to training for our strategists since they will have one-on-one connections with the student-athletes.
This platform has the capability to change lives and no detail is insignificant.
Our ongoing challenge is to make certain every detail and issue, no matter how seemingly small, is considered and solved.
Who inspires you?
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club played a huge role in my youth. It was there that I met two people who were a big part of my life — Tom Stubblefield and Gerald Albertson. They taught me so much and looked out for me.
They made a positive impact in my life, helping me become the man I am today and helping me realize that one person can make a difference.
I want to do the same — make a lasting, positive impact on the next generation.
What has been your biggest challenge when starting a business and what insights did you gain from it?
Developing a product that aligned with our vision has been the biggest challenge for The Locker Room team. Our first objective was to make sure that our partners knew and understood our vision as well as the strategy to make it happen. This involved communicating the vision and establishing the vital relationships needed to build a firm foundation that would provide a bright future for the company as well as our customers — the student-athletes and families that would depend on us to help them achieve their dreams.
Building a team with a shared vision is the key to any endeavor, and we are fortunate to have one of the best groups of people around. This program is first and foremost all about the kids. The mission and focus for The Locker Room and our team is STRONG. Every kid has a dream, and we are here to give direction to their dreams.
What advice would you offer to new startup founders or those who are in the early stages of starting a company?
My best advice to anyone with the vision for a company is don’t be afraid to chase your dream. Creating a company that helps young people excel not only in sports, but in life has been my lifelong dream.
The Locker Room is that dream translated into reality.
A lot of people are afraid to take a risk, but if there is something out there that you want, if you want it bad enough, you can find a way to make it happen.
Follow Roger on his journey by visiting The Locker Room on the web: Click Here.
Ready to chat with the Designli team about bringing your own startup to life? We’re here to help. Contact us here.