Monday, February 18, 2013

Perfume Potential

This weekend I attended a student leadership conference.  I'm not a student.  I was there as a professional who works with, and brought, some student leaders.  It makes one feel very oddly old! At the same time it's fun to be around that much young energy, keen to impact the world in a positive way.  Plus the keynote speakers were generally at least slightly older than me so it gave me a sense that I still have a little time!!

The keynote speaker on Saturday morning was an east coast Canadian business woman named Barbara Stegemann who's company, The 7 Virtues, successfully gained funding on the Canadian version of the Dragons Den.  She spoke to students for an hour and a half so I'm not going to attempt to summarize but the students were captivated by her message of the virtues needed to be leaders, and individuals, who will positively impact their communities. 

Stegemann's Book which I've just started reading

We were all also taken with her business and its mission.  Stegemann had a good friend who was seriously injured in Afghanistan where he was serving with the Canadian military.  While he traveled the long road to recovery Stegemann felt strongly that she needed to take up his cause of helping to create peaceful and self-sustaining communities in Afghanistan.  Stegemann was unsure what she could do to help the country rebuild until she saw a news piece on a tribal leader who was attempting to help local farmers switch from growing illegal poppies (Afghanistan grows the poppies that provide something like 75% of the world's heroin) to legal crops like orange blossom.  Suddenly Stegemann had an idea.  She would buy Afghan orange blossom oil and use it to make high quality perfume. Her goal was that the farmers would make money, those who provided it to her would make money,  the retail businesses that sold the perfume would make money and her company would make money. 

Afghanistan Orange Blossom was The 7 Virtues first perfume. With the slogan, Make Perfume Not War, the company has so far created three more fragrances, Noble Rose of Afghanistan, Vetiver of Haiti and Middle East Peace.  Her perfume is sold online but also at The Bay across Canada, Lord and Taylor in New York and by air Canada's On Board Duty Free.

I haven't ready the book yet but will report back when I have.  Of the four scents, Middle East Peace, featuring Sweetie Grape Fruit from Israel and Lime from Iran is my favourite.  I love grape fruit in a perfume.  I have a bottle of Clinique Happy that Husband bought me because it makes me nostalgic for my high school days.  I like the Middle East Peace more!

The 7 Virtues also has a facebook page as well as their website.

1 comment:

PamelaW said...

Isn't she a fantastic speaker? I saw her in Moncton last year and she will be speaking in SJ again at Pathways to Empowerment, March 8 at the Delta. I would love to borrow the book once you're done with it :)