The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases the diversity of tattoos. One of the great things about a tattoo is that it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that only “some” people get a tattoo. We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. And in this case we have a great cross over from the Company We Keep series.

“Do you have a tattoo?” asked Carel.

“Nope,” said I.

“I do,” said Justus (standing in boardshorts and a loose vest at the time).

With a skeptic look on his face, Carel examined the man in front of him, then proceeded to announce his disbelief in the above claim.

“Lets take a bet” said Justus.

All of this happened many years ago while spending a weekend at a bush camp just outside of Pretoria, sitting in the sun talking about life. To make a long story short, Carel took the bet, lost the bet and Justus revealed that he did indeed have a tattoo… somewhere…

Fast forward to the present month (April for those of you who have lost all concept of time) and I am on a WhatsApp call catching up with Justus. While he is in his apartment in New York, one of the hardest hit areas by Covid-19 in America, I heard more about his latest business venture ThreeDots… and plans for the future in general.

Catching up we realised that since we met at EasyEquities, just as the platform launched and as a small company called CN&CO started, A LOT has happened. This was roughly six years ago and serves as a reminder reminder that time marches steadily on so there is no time like the present (yes, even this present) to start something you have been thinking about for a while.

In those six years Justus completed an MBA in America, joined the ranks of the investment bankers, eventually moving over to the Venture Capital arm of JP Morgan to work with startups that aim to disrupt the very company he works for.

Through that journey he had conversation with a friend who had done some research into Cannabidiol or CBD for short. First discovered in 1940, the compound has become common in mainstream culture due to the reported health affects it has from aiding in dealing with anxiety, pain and several other conditions. While research is still in its infancy concerning the actual health implications, it has seen widespread adoption in terms of droplets, balms and edibles.

Embracing his entrepreneurial side, Justus and some mates decided to launch their own beverage company Three Dots, producing sparkling CBD water infused with botanicals. With some initial brand consulting from our very own Josie Dougall they were off on the startup journey. It cannot be understated how challenging it is to launch any new company, let alone a beverage one that has to deal with multiple industries in order to get a product from conception to reality. Manufacturing, logistics, research and development, retail markets, all of these and more are areas that you have to tackle head on to successfully launch a company like Three Dots.

No ink visible here but it’s there, trust us.

And launch it they did, in early February this year ThreeDots… launched in the United Kingdom. Because the personalities behind the company are legends (not to mention South Africans all working abroad) they have decided to donate 50% of all their current sales to the Solidarity Fund. So if you are in the UK head on over to their shop and purchase some tasty beverages, knowing that half of your purchase also goes to helping fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As for the tattoo, it is no surprise for anyone who knows Justus that it it was inspired by “wearing your heart on your sleeve”. After a period of travelling in his early 20s, Justus decided he wanted to get a tattoo but he was unsure of what or where. He happened to be in Italy at the time and surrounded by a population who are known for being passionate (about anything really) he decided to get his heart on his sleeve. Not quite the sleeve, instead opting for a small heart in a circle, just above his rib cage. Oh and the tattoo artist couldn’t speak a word of English so he had to draw the image for her to then draw on him, no verbal communication needed. Talk about brave faith in non-verbal communication.

Since getting the tattoo several of his friends got similar ink and over the years a small group has grown, spread across the group, all connected by the concept of being passionate at whatever they do.

In that passion, there is something for everyone to be reminded about. Even if you are unsure about something, the only way to really find out is to take the first step and find out. Most people wouldn’t launch a beverage company with no background in the industry, living in another country and working a full time job, but then again, most people have yet to learn how to wear their hearts on their sleeves.

P.S. I appreciate that most InkLink stories have a picture of the tattoo, unfortunately picture quality on WhatsApp calls is poor so just use your imagination 😉

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