The New 7 Virtues Fragrance Collection Expands Its Social Justice Message Into Sephora

Barb Stegemann has built her life around making something beautiful from something terrible. A spark was lit when her best friend—a soldier—was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that strengthening a country’s economy is key to building stability for its people, she founded fragrance line The 7 Virtues in 2010. She also penned a best-selling book about how women can flex their purchasing power to affect global change, which was followed by an award-winning documentary Perfume War.

Last year, she graduated from the Sephora Accelerate program, which is devoted to building a community of innovative women founders in beauty. The program has given her the tools to make change in the beauty industry, while pursuing her social justice work in vulnerable areas. Launching online today exclusively at Sephora Canada is her new Peace perfume collection, featuring seven scents (Orange Blossom, Amber Rose, Vetiver Elemi, Grapefruit Lime, Patchouli Citrus, Jasmine Neroli and Vanilla Woods) built around organic, fair trade essential oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Iran and Rwanda). Made without phthalates, the line is vegan and uses only organic sugar cane alcohol. The fragrances hit stores February 19th.

“When a farmer grows an illegal poppy crop, if the harvest doesn’t work, the traders/Taliban take their daughters as opium brides,” explains Stegemann. “But if the farmer is legally growing orange blossom or rose his daughter is safe. There are so few options out there for farmers in these countries, so we need to create the opportunities for them by buying their pomegranates, their orange blossoms, their saffron.”