Sea-ing is believing

Training camp
Halifax trailblazer gets elite beauty sector advice to take her business to another level

Barb Stegemann has embarked on the beauty industry boot camp of a lifetime.

The founder and CEO of Halifax-based The 7 Virtues fragrance company is one of 10 beauty sector executives taking part in the 2017 Sephora Accelerate Cohort—a sixmonth mentorship and business improvement exercise. Barb Stegemann, 7 Virtues Sephora is a French cosmetics company and the focus of its program is to support female founders in the beauty industry whose businesses are making a social impact. “This is going to be a Sephora makeover of my business and I’ve gone in with an open mind,” Stegemann says.
Founded in 2010, Stegemann’s business, (The 7 Virtues fragrance company) sources oils from war-torn or rebuilding countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, and India and uses them to make its fragrance products

Stegemann’s business fits the criteria. Founded in 2010, it sources oils from war-torn or rebuilding countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, and India and uses them to make its fragrance products. After applying and getting accepted into the Sephora program, she was flown to San Francisco in April, given $5,000 and housed in a mansion where she and the other CEOs went through an intense week-long boot camp working with industry leaders to improve their businesses.

But once the camp was over, the work had just begun. Stegemann has to refine her business plan based on the feedback she got in April and will return to San Francisco in September to make a pitch to Sephora executives. If her pitch is successful, it could mean investment from Sephora and/or distribution in its stores.

Stegemann is the lone beauty sector CEO from Atlantic Canada in the program. While she hopes to snag a distribution deal with Sephora, she says the exercise will benefit her business regardless. “I’ve gained a new network of women in the industry and for the first time to not feel alone in my business is a relief,” she says. “I’m learning best practices and gaining amazing wisdom.”

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