Rome Ntukogu, Far-I-Rome Productions
Rome Ntukogu is immediately recognized by his charming grin and trademark black baseball cap. His company, Far-I-Rome Productions, is responsible for bringing together musicians in a showcase of the city's finest bands and songwriters, the Heights Music Festival.
Explain what Far-I-Rome Productions does around town.
We are a creative services company. Our main project focus is on brand development, web design/development, and large-scale event development and management.
What prompted you to start this business?
It kind of found me. My background in bar consultation, booking and music productions led to the creation of various events, all of which were grown internally from ideation to design, then to marketing and operations. So, Far-I-Rome Productions became a presence way before it became a company.
How did you gain a customer base?
We were lucky in that our ideas, aesthetic and perspective resonated with folks around the area, so we saw a lot support in our event attendance, not to mention a lot of love from local artists and businesses. In short, we created the things we love, and made fans of like-minded individuals and businesses.
Did you have financial backing when you started up? If so, where did it come from?
Nope, just started from the bottom and still digging at it.
How would you describe a normal work day?
It changes from day to day—that is one the things that I love the most about it. Most days start off with a video conference with the designers and staff (some work remotely in other cities/states), and usually discuss new business, current projects and deadlines. Then I am usually off to a meeting with either vendors, new business or current clients, or doing research most of the day. I do A LOT of research.
What advice would you offer an entrepreneur looking to start a similar business?
Not sure if I am the right person to be giving advice because I am still learning so much. I would say just start doing it. Creatives create because we can't help but to do it, so always trust yourself and be open to trusting others, especially when it's hard. Oh, and big mistakes and big successes start from the same source—you—so stay calm, trust yourself and the team you've built. I guess that was quite a bit of advice on my part!
What's your company's biggest accomplishment? Why?
Transitioning into a full-scale creative services company, because our reputation stemmed from creating and operating events. It took a while to get the public and clients to truly embrace and trust us to create for them like any other agency. We got a lot of this from clients: "Wait, you guys do ALL of that?" Oh, and making it past the first few years.
What's next for your company?
What's next this year? We are in the process of developing and supporting some new and established events in the city, The Heights Music Festival
will enjoy a reconfiguration and reboot this year. Also, working with our partners in New York and Denver on projects like brand development and large-scale event development.
Interview by Sean M. Peters