This Perfume Smells Like Peace
A Mission for Peace
Human rights activist and author Barb Stegemann never set out to make perfume. Her mission-driven beauty brand The 7 Virtues was founded after her best friend Trevor Greene was severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan. Greene was serving in the Canadian forces and working to bring healthcare and clean drinking water to families in a local village.
A Taliban soldier who did not want to see his community have free thought or free will, put an axe through Greene’s head. Although he survived, he was severely injured and would likely never walk again.
Taking on her best friend’s mission of peace, Barb set out to bring positive change to Afghanistan. Through her research, she read about a man named Abdullah Arsala who was growing orange blossom and rose in an effort to get the farmers off the illegal poppy crop which contributes to 90% of the world’s heroin production. She quickly learned that the same men who attacked her friend, were responsible for knocking over Abdullah’s distillery.
Love Not War
Barb decided to fight back. She started purchasing the orange blossom and rose essential oils from the farmers in Afghanistan — paying them twice what they could make selling the illegal poppy crop and turning them into captivating fragrances. Arsala was able to double the production from his distillery while employing local farmers in fair and legal work.
Building on this success, Barb began sourcing natural, organic and fair trade essential oils from other developing and/or war torn countries. She traveled to Haiti to source the best Vetiver essential oil in the world, she sourced essential oils from the Middle East, Israel and Iran.
She traveled to Rwanda, the first country in the world with a female majority government, also the safest, fastest growing and least corrupt country in Africa. She started working with a local supplier named Nicholas Hitimana and began a co-operative to support adult orphans, HIV widows and survivors of the Rwandan genocide who earn three times the income they received from coffee production by producing patchouli essential oil.
Barb and her team began sourcing jasmine from India that supports blind students to study perfumery and become professional perfumers. Their newest country, Madagascar, is where the company sources organic, fair trade vanilla for their Vanilla Woods fragrance.
Today, the social enterprise works with farmers around the world to secure natural, organic and fair trade essential oils that create long-lasting fragrances and provide jobs, dignity and security to the farmers and their families.
The new Peace Perfume collection available exclusively online at Sephora and at Sephora stores across the U.S. The seven new scents are hypoallergenic and free of phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, UV inhibitors, and sulfates. The fragrances are vegan, cruelty-free and infused with organic sugar cane alcohol. Each scent is distinct, full bodied, and bursting with love.
This scent uses ethically sourced essential oils from Israel (Sweet Grapefruit) and Iran (Lime and Basil). It’s best for providing clarity and balance, creating harmony and lifting spirits.
This scent uses ethically sourced, organic, fair trade patchouli essential oil from Rwanda. It’s best for boosting your mood, finding your zen and reducing tension. The patchouli harvest gives widows and adult orphans economic independence.
This is the first time The 7 Virtues peace perfumes will be available in U.S. stores. The new collection includes seven scents from Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Israel, Iran and Madagascar. It’s arguably the world’s most socially responsible fragrance.
Barb’s passion for helping farmers globally sparked international attention and led to the release of the award-winning documentary Perfume War, which chronicles the friendship that ultimately led to the creation of The 7 Virtues and her fight for peace.