When we started this project one of the first people we had in mind to profile was Aimee. As the founder of Tom Organic tampons we knew she was a young woman who placed understanding and value on sustainability, respect for the earth, each other & ourselves. But meeting Aimee we also caught her infectious entrepreneurial spirit and balanced perspective on living with the earth in the modern world. Such a big inspiration for us here at The Bharani Effect!
Tell us how you started TOM Organic?
It started out like any business idea, solving a problem, I was eighteen and I was tired of my tampons falling out in my handbag all the time and I wanted to redesign conventional packaging, but as soon as I hit the ingredients list everything changed. When you ask the question, what’s in your tampon? Most women don’t actually know the answer. The majority of conventional products on the market are made with synthetic fibres like rayon, polypropylene (plastic) “silky smooth” covers and conventional cotton which is one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed and genetically modified crops on the planet. We’re talking about a product that goes into one of the most absorbent parts of our body and we use up to 12,000 of them in our lifetime! I knew that I had create an alternative, not just for myself but for women everywhere, and choosing organic cotton meant there was no compromising on our health or the planet.
What were you doing before you started TOM Organic?
I get asked this question a lot and it’s a funny one for me because TOM has been part of my life for so many years that the answer really is: I was in high school before I started TOM! The idea was already there when I was graduating school, and I took it with me into my Entrepreneurship degree at RMIT where it turned into a business plan and when I finished Uni I officially started the company and I’ve never looked back.
Your products not only care for what’s on the inside of our bodies but also what’s on the outside – understanding and only using certified organic products to reduce the use of chemicals on the planet. What are the top 3 things you do in your daily routine that also has the planet in mind?
It really is all about removing as many chemicals as you can from your life – food, beauty products, cleaning product – if there is an environmentally friendly alternative that works then use it! There are always going to be factors that are more difficult to have control over, like if you live in a city, your air is going to be more polluted than if you live in the country – but if you can control it, then you should.
It can be as simple as looking at products that we use every day - like toilet paper and choosing a brand that actually cares about the future of our planet. I buy Who Gives a Crap toilet paper because it’s 100% recycled and they give 50% of their profits to wateraid. It also comes in awesome packaging and gets delivered straight to my door!
I buy local and seasonal whenever I can – I shop at farmers markets and I’m conscious of my purchases. I also grow simple things in my garden, not everyone has time to take care of a full on veggie patch (including me) but just about everyone with an outdoor space can grow herbs and a fruit tree. Start small – go from there.
Tell us about your top 5 natural beauty products & why you choose to use them?
1. Jacqueline Evans Skincare – I have really sensitive skin and these products are truly incredible. Jacqui is also a really smart, beautiful woman and watching our brands grow together has been really wonderful.
2. Coconut Oil – I use this for so many things – it’s a great moisturizer for dry skin and it’s also a really good hair mask! Choose an organic one like Nuilife.
3. Organic Glam Nail Polish – it’s hard to find a good natural nail polish – I picked this up at the Organic Pharmacy in London and it’s pretty great!
4. Kora Organic Lip balm – I’ve been using this lipbalm for years, it’s like instant soft lips – I’ve got one in my makeup bag, one in my handbag and one in my desk drawer.
5. Orchard St Juice Cleanse – I know it’s not really a “beauty product” but a really good organic juice cleanse is like luxurious beauty treatment for your insides – trust me, your skin and your body will thank you for it. I love the Orchard St cleanses because they’re packed with amazing ingredients, they taste good and they come in beautiful reusable glass jars – and Kirsten is an incredible woman doing some fantastic things in this space!
How do you balance conscious choices with those presented as a mainstream alternative?
Balance is SO important, the stress that comes with trying to perfectly abide by certain rules 100% of the time is actually going to end up being worse for your health.
It's about what you do everyday, not what you do sometimes. I am all about that balance, I make conscious choices, I buy organic, I buy ethical where I can and I vote with my dollar, but I don’t feel bad or guilty about going out for dinner with my husband and having a glass of wine and eating dairy ice-cream for dessert!
Some things are easier to change than others, where the alternative is obvious and easy to find (like tampons!) then make the switch.
There are definitely things that I’ve found hard to give up – perfume is a good example – I have perfumes that I LOVE, and I haven’t found a great natural alternative yet – so when I do wear it, I spray it on my clothes, not my skin and for now, that works for me.
“Balance is SO important, the stress that comes with trying to perfectly abide by certain rules 100% of the time is actually going to end up being worse for your health ”
You harness a lot of female community spirit around your brand – not only because of your product, but because of other operators in the sector – who are some of these ladies that are inspiring you at the moment?
We really do have such a phenomenal community of women and I am so grateful for that, from our business networks to our customers, to the women in the health and wellness space.
Honestly, all of these women inspire me on a daily basis, we get so many emails from women who are so passionate about the brand and what we are doing, who want to yell it out to the world on our behalf – and these simple messages always put the biggest smile on my face.
It’s really hard to name just a couple of people because everyone is doing such amazing work. But someone like Catie from The Staple Store in Melbourne is a great example – she walks the talk and she’s generous and passionate in everything that she does. People like her inspire others to want to go out of their way to make our world a better place and that’s pretty special. Also – her raweos are literally life-changing.
What are the future plans for TOM Organic?
Our objective has always been for every woman, everywhere to know about and have access to a chemical free female care products, and we are still very much at the beginning of the journey as far as education goes – so this year is about getting the word out to as many women as possible!
We are on the cusp of launching the first two products in our new organic maternity range – maternity pads and nursing pads – which is incredibly exciting (and lots of work!). These are due to launch in March/April – so keep your eyes peeled!!
We’re also looking at expansion into export markets.
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