Aimee Marks is the founder of TOM Organic, an organic feminine hygiene company with purpose.
As a school student, she wanted to stop tampons from rolling around in the bottom of her handbag. Now in 2017, TOM is giving thousands of Australian women access to pure and reliable organic tampons and pads.
But without the support of the strong women in her life, she wouldn’t have been able to build the kind of successful and conscious business TOM is today.
“A handful of amazing women have believed in me along my journey, but it all began with one woman believing I could create anything if I was passionate and maintained my values throughout the process,” the entrepreneur told Mamamia.
“The defining female force throughout my whole life has been my mum. She has empowered me from a young age to see the positive in everything, to see the best in everyone, to think differently and be creatively curious and most importantly to have incredibly strong values in business and life.”
It's this idea of women lifting up each other that inspired Aimee's latest initiative, the TOM Female Empowerment Grant.
Launching this week, the TOM Female Empowerment Grant aims to provide financial support to an individual or company that clearly demonstrates the ability to empower women through their business mission.
Coinciding with the launch of TOM Organic’s new packaging, Aimee has teamed up with strong Australian female fashion identities Lindy Klim and Heidi Middleton (co-founder of Australian fashion label Sass & Bide) to create limited edition TOM Organic T-shirts, with all profits from the sales going towards funding the grant.
"With these sales, we are hoping to raise $25,000 which will go directly into the Grant – someone once believed in my vision and gave me a chance, so I want to pass on this gift and invest in the next generation of female change," Aimee said.
Nominations can be submitted via TOM Organic’s website, and will be open from August 7 to September 29, 2017.
Processing of applications and judging will commence on October 2, with the winner being announced via TOM Organic’s website and social media channels by the end of October.
Nominations will be judged on criteria including a demonstrated ability to empower women and the impact/reach of their project. Nominees must be based in Australia and anyone can nominate someone.
The judging panel will consist of successful female business identities including Berry Liberman (Small Giants), Kit Willow (KITX), Margie Woods (Viktoria & Woods), Caroline Vu (Impact Investment Group) as well Aimee herself.
"We created the female empowerment grant to provide the women of Australia with a platform to share their stories of resilience, passion, hard work," Aimee explained.
"Instead of spending money on traditional marketing, as this doesn't fit our philosophy of doing everything differently and engaging at a 'real' level with the women in our community it made sense to invest dollars in the next generation of female thinking.
"I genuinely believe that business is the most powerful tool that we can use to create good, for us the focus has been on environmental and health benefits. While there is still a huge gap with regards to boardroom and senior executive female and male leadership, more women than men are starting businesses and staying in business than ever."
As well as celebrating women already empowering other women in their community, for Aimee it's just as emportant to learn how to empower yourself.
"My advice to how to empower yourself.. be kind to yourself," she said.
"Shift the negative to positive in your head, surround yourself with other women who inspire you and find yourself in more places that ignite your passion and lift your heart rate for the better.
"This will give life to your dreams. And sometimes it's as simple as just knowing you can do it, there's no recipe, so make, create, own!"
To nominate a fantastic woman you know for the TOM Female Empowerment Grant, visit their website before September 29, 2017.