Perfume entrepreneur pays it forward
Barb Stegemann believes women can use their buying power for positive change. Her company’s award-winning fragrances are made with essential oils sourced in areas affected by war and strife.
Entrepreneur: Barb Stegemann, CEO and founder
Company: The 7 Virtues Beauty
Industry: Consumer products
Location: Halifax, NS
Services used: Business Women in International Trade, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
Stegemann first began sourcing orange blossoms in 2010 from a farmer in Afghanistan to support his growth of legal crops instead of illegal poppies. Her partnership with Global Affairs Canada has helped her ensure fair pay and good working conditions for her suppliers.
In 2011, she became the first woman from Atlantic Canada to successfully pitch on CBC’s Dragons’ Den when The 7 Virtues Beauty attracted $75,000 in venture capital.
On her path to success, Stegemann found ideal partners in the Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) program and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). Each gave her the help she needed to find buyers and promote her perfumes across North America, Europe and Australia. Her fragrance lines are now available at Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada, Sephora outlets in the U.S., and luxury department stores in the U.K. and Germany.
Stegemann credits the BWIT team and the TCS as being instrumental in her company’s success.
“I wouldn’t dare go into a country without their support. I have been incredibly impressed by the whole organization.”
Stegemann’s advice to women entrepreneurs
“Reach out to your network for help. The BWIT team and the Trade Commissioner Service have been instrumental in our expansion and growth. It’s much more powerful when they call a buyer for me.”
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