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Pure and simple

Stories — Posted 03/04/14

Do you know what’s in your feminine hygiene products? TOM Organic founder Aimee Marks shares her love for organic, sustainable living.

The very first tampon was created in the 1930s for a ballerina, giving women for generations to come the freedom to live life to the fullest, no matter what time of the month. TOM Organic takes this promise further by providing a chemical-free, sustainable choice of feminine hygiene products.

Made from pure organic cotton and following organic farming practices, TOM Organic products are based on the philosophy of protecting both our bodies and the planet from harmful toxins. Aimee Marks, TOM Organic founder and director, talks about choosing chemical-free products, giving back to the community, and living a sustainable lifestyle...

TOM organic tampons product range packaging

What makes TOM Organic different to other feminine hygiene brands?

When you ask the question, “What’s in your tampon?” most women don’t actually know the answer. Most products on the supermarket shelf are made with synthetic fibers like rayon, polypropylene (plastic) “silky smooth” covers and conventional cotton. This is one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed and genetically modified crops on the planet. It uses more than 25 per cent of the world’s total pesticides!

We are 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 to make a product that is 100% organic cotton to the core meant there was no compromising on our health or the planet. I think it’s important to avoid chemicals in all aspects of my life, and given that we use tampons every single month for nearly 40 years, a chemical-free option is a no brainer.

How would you describe the TOM philosophy?

Creating a company culture that I could be proud of was always at the top my list when I started TOM. We work out of an amazing collaborative building in St Kilda in Melbourne that has a massive herb and fruit garden, flowers, urban bees on the roof that make honey. We also have a team of incredible people who are as passionate about the brand as I am and who all live incredibly healthy, balanced lifestyles. There is lots of yoga, tea drinking, and green juicing going on!

TOM Organic is also a B Corporation. B Corps are about business doing good in the world, not being driven solely by profit margins, but also measuring the social and environmental footprint that they leave behind. We are aligned in every way with the values that the B Corporation stands for which means that our policies are value-driven and will be legally engrained into the company’s DNA for life, because I believe business should be non-toxic (just like our products).

How does TOM give back to the community?

A big part of what we do is ensuring that there is an ethical basis to every aspect of our supply chain. I fully believe that in the long term this is where we can have the biggest impact, both environmental and social. Whether it is through the purchase of organic cotton from farmers with fair labour laws and sustainable farming practices, or where we source our cardboard and printing inks, and who packs our products (they’re packed Melbourne because we always support local business wherever we can), we look at how we spend our money every step of the way not just what we do with our profits.

It’s also important that we align with organisations that go to the core of our business values – working with a not for profit like the ACCF means that we can help them to raise awareness about things like the importance of getting regular pap smears to prevent cervical cancer. We often donate product to charity organisations because we believe that all women should have access to feminine hygiene products regardless of their situation. As we grow this kind of work will continue to be integral to what we do.

What are some other steps people can take towards a more organic, sustainable lifestyle?

Find the balance and don’t try to eliminate everything at once – start with something that’s easy to change (like your tampon brand!), start reading the ingredients on everything you buy and know that every choice you make is a vote with your dollar. There is also an amazing community of wellness women out there offering incredible support!

What does a healthy and fulfilling life look like to you?

Finding work life balance, spending time with your family, eating green food, laughing lots, living with passion, loving your work, making conscious buying choices.

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