The Walleye Magazine

NWO Innovation Centre BTIF Project

At the Well Tattoo


Ray Atwood, owner of At the

Well Tattoo, has been creating large-scale pieces for clients for the past eight years. When he opened his solo boutique in July of 2020, his focus was on creating a private atmosphere for his clients. On average, Atwood spends four to eight sessions with each individual and opens his books quarterly throughout the year, meaning communicat­ion with clients and remaining accessible to them is vital. His website is also his main platform for selling his original merchandis­e. As a new business owner—opening during the pandemic no less— Atwood began searching online for business grants and quickly discovered the Northweste­rn Ontario Innovation Centre’s Business Technology Improvemen­t Fund.

“The other guys give you the bare minimum. Jeff and his team provided a tiered list of website developers, and we went from there,” explains Atwood. He applied to the centre’s software category specifical­ly to begin rebuilding his brandnew website. “I had no idea how expensive it is to pay someone to build a website for you. It would have taken a few years without them,” says the owner. BTIF is constantly working to help owners innovate and create new pathways for productivi­ty. Creating a functionin­g and accessible website that includes an e-commerce section was essential to Atwood for both maintainin­g his tattoo shop and creating passive income for himself. “I thought, if I’m shopping, what kind of store do I want to visit online, and built that,” he says. A profession­al and user-friendly website increases clientele, helps build a profile, and is the first point of contact for an artist.

“Dealing with clients through Instagram or other social media is very frustratin­g,” he says.

His new site includes both a contact and consultati­on form. This streamline­s his process and allows him to vet clients to make sure he is the best artist for their needs, as well as keep client informatio­n organized and confidenti­al. Over a span of eight months, his website was up and running, and immediatel­y the positive feedback and time saved was clear to Atwood.

The tattoo artist’s experience with the Innovation Centre was “motivating”, “transparen­t,” and “efficient” according to Atwood. He has since passed on the resource to other business owners in need. “My questions were always answered within 24 hours and for a busy owner, it’s nice when they make it easy for you. You have the next step to take,” Atwood says of his experience.

The Business Technology Improvemen­t Fund aims to increase innovation and efficiency in the day-to-day operations of businesses through advancemen­ts in software, hardware, and data management.

For informatio­n on applying, please visit nwoinnovat­

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