Unilever Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Unilever Group, has joined forces with True Beauty Ventures, a US based investment firm specializing in scaling beauty and wellness brands to make their first foray into the fragrance category. The two companies have acquired minority stakes in the Canadian clean perfumery brand The 7 Virtues.
Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur, author and activist Barb Stegemann, the brand pioneered the clean and sustainably sourced fragrance category. The concept took inspiration from her best-selling book: The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen – a woman’s guide to living and leading in an illogical world, which was published in 2008. The 7 Virtues crafts perfumes with a high 22% fragrance oil concentration and based on aromatherapy principles. The brand’s mantra is Make Perfume Not War, and they do this by advancing period equity in North America and globally. The company is pending B-Corp certification.
The 7 Virtues’ fragrance collection is available exclusively on the brand’s website and at Sephora in 18 countries including Canada, US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Their fragrance ingredients are sustainably sourced from around the world. The brand has earned the “Clean + Planet Positive” seal from Sephora, awarded only to the most ambitious clean and planet-positive brands.
The 7 Virtues global year-on-year sales have grown by more than 80% in FY 2023.
“The 7 Virtues has cracked the code on creating long-lasting, perfumes using sustainable ingredients that their loyal customers love, along with their empowering and authentic story,” says Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, Partner at Unilever Ventures. “Driven by its philosophy, The 7 Virtues is elevating from an exciting indie brand to a legacy brand and we’re delighted to be a part of its growth journey.“
The joint investment from Unilever Ventures and True Beauty Ventures will equip The 7 Virtues with the resources to open a New York office to bolster their team and magnify its global expansion with Sephora to create significant inventory to keep up with the rapid demand. The brand also plans to open a “Maison” in Nova Scotia, Canada, where clients can come visit and create their own bespoke perfume with classics like Vanilla Woods and Cherry Ambition.
“When an indie brand like The 7 Virtues outpaces brands with million dollar budgets, they prove the revenue potential is explosive with the right type of support,” added Rich Gersten, True Beauty Ventures Co-Founder and Partner.
Barb Stegemann, the brand’s fouder, remains the majority shareholder.