Our founder, author and activist, Barb Stegemann shares why sustainably sourced ingredients from nations rebuilding after war or strife is in the DNA of our brand from day one.
"My real job is to make rebuilding sexier than destruction.
I do this through perfume."
Barb Stegemann, Founder and CEO
What inspired you to launch a social enterprise?
When my best friend, a soldier serving in the military was wounded on his mission to liberate women and girls in Afghanistan, I took on his mission of peace while he healed. Sourcing legal orange blossom and rose essential oil crops freed Afghan farmers from the illegal poppy crop and liberated their daughters from becoming young opium brides. I’ve taken my philosophy of equality and empowerment around the world to Haiti, Rwanda, The Middle East, India, and Madagascar. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Share how The 7 Virtues social enterprise is a sustainable beauty brand?
Empowering others is in the DNA of our brand, it’s the why behind why I set out on this journey to give dignity and jobs to others. We walk our talk. Every part of our journey is sustainable from our natural ingredients sourced from nations rebuilding after war or strife to our packaging. We have become friends of our suppliers in Rwanda, Haiti and Afghanistan. We care deeply about ensuring they receive fair wages and support programs to advance their families. Where it is safe, we personally visit and know how our products are farmed. Our corporate head office is powered by 100% renewable energy. Our partner, CPL aromas are experts in sustainable, raw and natural ingredients and connect us with more suppliers to expand our reach worldwide.
The 7 Virtues was awarded the Clean + Planet Positive at Sephora seal of approval in the USA and Canada, what’s your secret to a long lasting, clean and natural perfume?
It is important to me that if we assist our farmers, that we also give you the healthiest product. Your skin is your largest organ, it’s crucial that we create healthy, non-toxic perfumes. We’ve cracked the code on how to make a long lasting, natural perfume without using harmful chemicals. We doubled our natural perfume formulation to twice the amount found in eau de parfum, to 22 – 30 per cent fragrance oils and infuse these naturals with organic, sugarcane alcohol. In our aromatherapy, gemstone rollers, we infuse 25% fragrance oils with organic jojoba oil. Our peace perfumes and perfume oils are made without phthalates, parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde or UV inhibitors. Our philosophy is to help our farmers and our clients to ensure you get a natural, hypoallergenic perfume you can wear to work and to any location. In the EU, we have earned the “Good For” seal.
Did you know our brand began as a best selling book written by our founder to empower women to launch companies, end bullying and run for office?
The 7 Virtues began as a book. Barb promised her best friend, Captain Trevor Greene in the hospital she would take on his mission of peace while he healed. Then she realized as a woman in this patriarchy, she didn’t have a way, so she created a new way. The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen – a woman’s guide to living & leading in an illogical world has empowered women to launch companies, end bullying and run for office. Harnessing women’s buying power and voting power to end corruption, poverty and war is Barb’s mission.
Tell us about your secondary packaging and how it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved.
We are a family run social enterprise. My husband Mike who is our head of operations, also wrote a book on the environment with my best friend, Captain Greene titled, There’s no Planet B. (perhaps link through to the book?) The environment and the future of our children is crucial to us. That’s why all of our secondary packaging is FSC approved. This means the wood our paperboard and blotters are made from come from responsibly managed forests. Our gemstone rollerball perfume oils are all recyclable, you can keep the gemstone and recycle the bottle. We have stopped using cellophane completely going forward and we are excited to begin using recyclable spray bottles in the fall of 2022!
Why is The 7 Virtues a Vegan company and share your list of credentials.
I personally don’t eat meat and make my own vegan cheese. I feel everything we do on this planet should protect the earth and humans and animals alike. We are vegan and cruelty free accredited by PETA. In addition to PETA, we passed the rigorous audit of the holy grail of vegan accreditation, Leaping Bunny. As a Leaping Bunny certified beauty brand it means all of our suppliers passed their strict audits. Consumers need to look for the Leaping Bunny to know that the entire chain of ingredients passed the rigorous to know you truly have a 100 per cent cruelty free vegan brand. This to us is crucial as we don’t use any animal products (no musks or beeswax etc) nor are our perfumes tested on animals (Just on my hot husband). Our cat Waldo really appreciates this too.
We don’t test on animals, we love our pet cat Waldo. We prefer to test on our friends and family.