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 nwoinnovation.ca/btif.