We get asked a lot of wonderful questions and do our very best to respond to each one. Some of the most popular questions are here as a way to share information about our unique business model with you.
I want to do trade with nations that are rebuilding. Where do I begin?
First of all, good for you and your company! We are on a mission to encourage others to find ways to source products from countries that are rebuilding to empower families. For us, we realize we are just scratching the surface alone, but as a collective and with a long term commitment we can make a difference in the long run. We recommend you begin with government organizations in your country. Visit your country’s government web site and you will find a great deal of information and research already done. Every country has a its own Embassies, Trade Commissioners, NGOs, and International Trade and Foreign Affairs sections. We also highly recommend visiting The Clinton Foundation as a resource as well. We visited Haiti with The Clinton Foundation and were able to meet suppliers. For Canadians we suggest you visit the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as well as Building Markets. All of these organizations assisted us and were a wealth of knowledge.
Are you a charity?
We are not a charity. The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc is an incorporated business that believes in sourcing fair trade natural and organic supplies from countries that are rebuilding to make a positive impact over long term relationships. Our CEO, Barb Stegemann and her business partner W. Brett Wilson are philanthropic and committed to various charities in their personal and professional time, however this company is based on the philosophy of doing trade to empower nations rebuilding.
Why did you start The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc and how much do you invest in countries that are rebuilding?
We are a small, young company that just launched in 2010. We began with a very small investment, all that our CEO could afford on her credit card. At the start we could not get loans for our business concept. A $2000 purchase was made for one cup of orange blossom oil from our supplier in Afghanistan to then pay for a small run of fragrances to sell in a couple of stores. With the support of increased sales and investment, by consumers who support the idea of business that uses its buying power to make a difference, the company bought more essential oils.
After we gained investment on CBC’s Dragons’ Den when we went with Philanthropist, W. Brett Wilson, we were able to purchase even more oils to put legal dollars into the economy of Afghanistan. To date we have invested nearly a quarter of a million dollars in our combined communities in essential oil purchases translating into much needed jobs and a bright future together.
We believe that with this steady increase in purchases we will one day help our supplier, Abdullah Arsala, owner of Gulestan Essential Oils in Jalalabad, Afghanistan to help more farmers get off the illegal poppy crop. It’s an ambitious goal that our CEO and her supplier are committed to over the long haul. To date, our CEO has not drawn a salary from The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc to ensure the young company can survive a very competitive industry in which the company has no big budget for advertising and counts on word of mouth to help her grow the company to reach the goals of her suppliers.
What inspired your company to invest in Afghanistan?
Our CEO was inspired by her best friend who was wounded in Afghanistan. She wanted to support his mission of economic empowerment in her own small way. She read about Abdullah Arsala, owner of a distillery in Jalalabad, Afghanistan who was trying to support his tribe by creating legal crops of orange blossom and rose instead of the poppy crop that accounts for 90% of the world’s heroin supply. It’s in our best interests not to be overwhelmed, but to just begin and do something pro active to help change this.
What are The 7 Virtues?
The 7 Virtues are: Wonder, Moderation, Truth, Courage, Justice, Wisdom and Beauty. They are based upon the best selling book written by CEO, Barb Stegemann, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen – a woman’s guide to living & leading in an illogical world.
How do you source your essential oils and what do you pay?
We source our essential oil suppliers through NGOs and Canadian Government Agencies including CIDA, Building Markets and the Clinton Foundation.
All of our suppliers already have a distillery and a business. They simply need buyers. We believe community led distilleries that have done the research to prove the crop to be economically viable is the best way to empower.
We pay fair market value for our essential oils. In Afghanistan we pay $8000 USD for our Orange Blossom essential oil, we pay $10,000 for our Rose oil. All of our suppliers charge fair market for their oils.
Not all of our suppliers have web sites yet. Some can be reached directly here to do trade with them or work through one of their NGOs available below to reach our suppliers or source new ones.
To learn more about our supplier in Rwanda visit www.Ikirezi.com
To learn more about true Clinton Foundation and to find suppliers in Haiti visit www.ClintonFoundation.org
To learn more about working with nations rebuilding visit The Canadian International Development Agency http://www.international.gc.ca
To learn more about Building Markets visit www.buildingmarkets.org
Do you do animal testing?
We do not do animal testing. Our fragrances are vegan.
Do you add Phthalates to your fragrances?
No, we do not add phthalates to our fragrances. We do not add parabens to our essential oils. And our fragrances are vegan. Our fragrances are light, they do not walk in the room ahead of you. We believe that if they are good for the world in rebuilding, they must be good for your skin.
Have The 7 Virtues Fragrances been classified as safe according to the strict European Union regulations?
Yes! Our Chartered Chemist is duly authorized according to the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on cosmetic products (recast) 2008/0035 (COD) dated 10 November 2009 (finally as 1223/2009 on 30 November 2009) and all subsequent additions, which replace all other regulations.
We have taken into consideration the general toxicological profile of each ingredient used, the chemical structure, the CIR panel evaluation where available, the level of exposure (full technical data and/or toxicology files are held for each ingredient) and a total daily exposure has been calculated along with the margins of safety for each ingredient. As a result of our evaluation the product has been classified as: SAFE.
We have independently assessed the product declared above and confirm that a PIF (Product Information File formerly PIP) has been completed. A full evaluation of the product has been compiled that includes stability testing, microbiological testing and pack compatibility testing and as a result this product safety report has been issued.
The product fully complies with the legislation listed above and complies with the various Annexes relating to banned, CMRs, and restricted ingredients; colours, preservatives and sunscreens. There are no impurities or trace materials in the raw materials or packaging that would give any rise for concern.
While our fragrances have been classified safe by a chartered chemist who is duly authorized according to the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on cosmetic products, each fragrance may contain allergens relevant to people with sensitivities. Those allergens are listed below:
Afghanistan Orange Blossom
Alcohol Denat Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (water), Benzyl, Benzoate, Citral, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool
Noble Rose of Afghanistan
Alcohol Denat, Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylphenyl, Methylpropional, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Methyl 2-Octynoate
Vetiver of Haiti
Alcohol Denat, Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool
Middle East Peace
Alcohol Denat, Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool
Patchouli of Rwanda
Alcohol Denat, Parfum(Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geriniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool
Jasmine of India
Amyl cinnamal, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamal, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, alpha-Isomethyl ionone, Evernia prunastri extract