The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically *impossible* to have a tattoo… because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us.

So I decided to focus on women and their tattoo stories. I wondered if there may be a few trends. I put a post on Facebook, asking for stories from my women friends about their tattoos. Why, when, and what significance. The responses have reminded me how awesome the women in my extended circle are. Chicks are funny man! From high school exes to dreams of being a playboy bunny, to deceased husbands and dads, to children’s names, to reminders of how to live a better life. The tattoos are all wonderful and meaningful and sincere.

For this blog, I am just going to let the ladies tell their own stories in their own words.


Megan Kidd Scott – 32, mother of one, art curator 

“My tattoo on my ribcage says Lockington – our family name.In Irish families the boys get a third family name but not the girls. So my brother is Michael Graham Lockington Kidd and my father is Andrew Dennis Lockington Kidd, but I was just Megan Amy Kidd. So I thought screw the patriarchy, I shall give it to myself, and tattooed it on my ribcage :)”


Ash Mallen – 35, mother of two, part time chef, part time stay at home mum, Oppikoppi enthusiast

If it was a choice between my sister and me I would most certainly have bet on me to get a tattoo first. It was, however, the other way around! She now has this “beeyadiful” tribal number luckily on her back so nobody can really see it.

I always said if I really still want a tattoo by the time my kids are born I’ll get their names or something related to them done as they will always be my children no matter what. No fad, phase I’m going through or trying to be cool can change that.

So there you go. I’m also finished having kids and do not feel the need to have any more tattoos until maybe my first born fur child goes to heaven then I may just have to put a small F somewhere 😉

Lorien Kee Irwin – 35, mother of one, marketer, South Africa lover – living in Dubai

I have a leaf on my back – that I am just one leaf part of a much bigger “tree of life” so to speak. One day I will break off, float to the ground and die but from that life comes new life.



Lana Wray Royle – 35, mother of two, full time mum, Malawian-living-abroad

Hey heart, saw your FB post and you know I love a little story and I do have a tat so I fit the profile (yessssss!). Mine is a blue butterfly (original much?) just below my waist and is in memory of my mum’s mum, my own Gogo, who died of a heart attack when I was still at school. I love it and although the circumstances that I had it inked are not fitting to my Gogo’s memory (think dodgy Obs tattoo parlour, Cape Town, after a Saturday drinking session with some mates, done by a guy with no legs – not even kidding!). I don’t regret it at all and it was done rather beautifully. I chose to have it inked below my waist so that A: my parents wouldn’t see it and flip the hell out and B: I wanted to still be able to see it without it being visible to the world (don’t get me wrong I have no beef with “Tramp stamps”. I’m a judge-free zone – but for me it was a personal, sentimental tribute and therefore one that the whole world didn’t need to know about).

I have seriously considered getting more (although Rob has threatened me with divorce if I do), and would love to get my boys’ birthdays inked somewhere and my sisters and I have even talked about getting our sisters ‘code word’ inked together but alas the old ball and chain’s threat looms large.

Oh, I should also probably mention that after my emergency C-section with Ty that my butterfly tattoo is now affectionately known as the ‘butter’, because after that procedure, she lost wing and can no longer fly.
My Gogo had the best sense of humour- she would have loved that!!!


Holly Forsdick-Griffiths – 34, mother of one, full time mum, lover of the good life, uber-er of her beagles to the park, photographer

“I have 3 tattoos but only one is really significant. My Africa on my ankle.
I got it because I love my home, and am proud of my heritage and because I was always planning on making my life about traveling (pre Olive and Porks 🤣) and I always wanted to be able to look down and know that my feet were, in someway, at home.There is a saying that I always think of when I see my tattoo… “they say you get African soil in your baby shoes, and you never get it out”.

I also like it on my ankle, because I don’t see it often and when I catch a glimpse, it makes me smile.

Also, it’s the only tattoo that my Dad has ever admitted “isn’t that bad”.


Franzel Allen – 25, insurance broker, lover of her pet rabbit ‘Hasie’

My first tattoo was 100% rebellion. At 16 I was convinced that my dream job is one day being a Playboy Bunny and living the life in the mansion… also my stepfather was a pastor and I was trying quite hard to prove a point so I got a tattoo of a playboy bunny VERY low on my right hip…

My second tattoo, even more cringeworthy was the initial of my high school boyfriend in a desperate attempt to save the relationship (needless to say it wasn’t saved)

Then, in 2013, my gran passed away and I wanted to get something to remind me of her presence always around me, so I had a Phoenix Feather done covering the bizarre initial on my left arm.


Bridget Harpur – 33, mother of two, marketer

The lotus – a pure white flower that grows out of mud to remind us that sometimes good comes out of adversity. Done after enduring 3 months of a child in hospital

Caroline Donoghue – 36, mother of one, widower, marketer from London

I’ve got three … one a self motivator, one accepting my infertility journey and one for Jay while he was fighting cancer



Shevaun Vermaak – friend of a friend

This one is my son’s date of birth and name as well as the two stars and two butterflies symbolise the four babies I lost before my son


Kerry Snel – 32, travel lover, entrepreneur, lover of life, health and fitness

Very tiny one, got it in Bali, wanted it somewhere I could see to remind myself of things important to me. The line stands for stay grounded, and the dot stands for thinking from or striving towards ones higher consciousness.




So I guess the common theme here is that tattoos are a creative way to display emotions, be it love, pain, esoteric meaning, death or joy. Each one is unique and different, like its “owner”. Tattoos are a way of eternalising a feeling, or an opinion. I will certainly ask people more about their tattoos, because it generally tells us something meaningful about that person’s life or past.