Barb Stegemann disrupted an entire industry from her garage, armed with only a personal Visa card and a dream to help people rebuild in war-ridden countries. Today, The 7 Virtues is an award-winning social enterprise and a leader in the clean and conscious beauty movement. Stegemann has led her company into becoming the #1 selling “Clean at Sephora” perfume brand in both the US and Canada, with sales now expanded into 15 countries. Through her inspiring entrepreneurial story, Stegemann shares her innovative approach to business, empowers audiences to embrace their inner disrupter, and shares powerful messages of triumphing over adversity.
Stegemann’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend — a soldier — was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people, Stegemann launched The 7 Virtues, a company that sources organic, fair trade essential oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, and beyond). Despite addressing complex global matters in her talks, Stegemann uses humour to show how individuals can use business for good and effect change, both at home and across the globe.
Stegemann first became known to millions of Canadians when she landed a venture-capital deal on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den — the first woman from Atlantic Canada to do so. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the popular reality show. Since then, Stegemann and her hypo-allergenic fragrance collection have been celebrated in major media outlets around the world, including Vogue, Elle Canada, Fast Company, Forbes, The Cut, Women’s Wear Daily, The Globe and Mail, as wells as CBC, CNN, Bloomberg, and more.
Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN, Stegemann has also won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” in the emerging Entrepreneur category for Atlantic Canada; was ranked as one of Profit Guide magazine’s “Top 30 Cool and Fabulous Canadian Entrepreneurs”; and named one of Real Leaders magazine’s “Top 40 Women Keynote Speakers of 2020.” She was also made the first female Honorary Colonel in the history of 14 Wing Greenwood base, Royal Canadian Air Force, completing her term in 2015.
Stegemann is also the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, now in its 8th edition, and the subject of the feature-length, award-winning documentary, Perfume War.