The Start-Up

The sustainable sportswear firm fighting throwaway culture

Lockr Space founder Akeem Kamara talks to Andy Martin about overcoming a stammer, catering to the ‘everyday athlete’ and watching the big brands play catch up

<p>Karama began his entrepreneurial journey with five-a-side website Pitch Up</p>

Karama began his entrepreneurial journey with five-a-side website Pitch Up

Two years ago, Akeem Bundu-Kamara bought a piece of sports kit on Amazon – a “base layer” top to keep him warm while playing football. It was cheap, but definitely not cheerful. It didn’t fit properly, it was never comfortable, and it didn’t smell good either. A complete waste of money – and liable to clog up the environment. “Everything about it was bad: it was designed to be thrown away,” says Kamara. Most of us would, in fact, just throw it away and move on. Kamara didn’t. His personal slogan is: “Do the opposite.” The result of him doing the opposite is Lockr Space, a new online platform dedicated to sustainable, quality sportswear.

Now 28, Kamara had a dramatic, you might say traumatic start in life. Born in London, he was packed off to Sierra Leone to spend a few years getting to know his grandparents – but then had to be evacuated out when first the UN and then finally British troops were called in to quell the civil war.

Safely back in England, he went to school in Croydon and took up football and quickly became a fanatic. The young Akeem and his best friend Joe would wake up at 6am every day to get to school by 7.30am so as to do an hour and a half’s football practice – and then more at lunchtime and after school.

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