“My [18-year-old] daughter hated my perfumes,” laughs Barb Stegemann, creator of The 7 Virtues, an ethically sourced fragrance line she launched in 2010. “That was kind of a sign. I went back to my perfumer and asked, ‘What if we created something more contemporary?’”

The heady result—which she achieved with support from Sephora’s mentorship program for female entrepreneurs— is seven new fragrances formulated with fairtrade ingredients, like rose from Afghanistan and vetiver from Haiti. “These scents have more layers,” says the Halifax native, adding that they doubled the percentage of essential oils to up the longevity without having to use synthetics.

But you don’t have to take her word for it— Stegemann’s daughter is also sold: “She sent me a photo of her bottle of Vanilla Woods, and it was empty.”


The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum Spray ($88 for 50 mL), at sephora.com


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.