Sunday 10 March 2013

Pretty Things

I thought I would give you a preview of some of the content I'll have in my new blog "A Gentle Plan".  One section is headed "Pretty Things". If you make and sell pretty things or know of a business near you practising in an ethical and socially responsible way please let me know.

Can  perfume be a tool for peace in war torn and strife ridden countries? 
Barb Stegemann thinks it can....

afghanistan orange blossom
 Noble Rose of Afghanistan    
Barb was inspired to step up when her best friend was catastrophically wounded in Afghanistan. She wanted to support his mission of empowering local people. She found Abdullah Arsala, owner of a distillery in Jalalabad. He was trying to support his tribe by growing legal crops of orange blossom and rose, instead of the poppy crop which currently supplies 90% of the world’s heroin.

"It is my vision to one day produce half of the rose oil supply for all the world. 
This will help farmers in Afghanistan buy shoes and books for their children in a safe environment,
growing a legal crop that does not compromise our lives or dignity". 
Abdullah Arsala, Owner of Gulestan Essential Oils, Afghanistan

Barb purchased one cup of orange blossom oil, all she could afford, and created Afghanistan Orange Blossom perfume.

" It’s in our best interests not to be overwhelmed, but to just begin..." 
                                                                          Barb Stegemann

Two years later, with superb marketing skills and investment from people who believe in her goal, the company has purchased $100,000 of essential oil from Afghanistan and set up similar arrangements in Haiti and the Middle East. In addition to Orange Blossom, the line now comprises of  Middle East Peace, Noble Rose of Afghanistan, and Vetiver of Haiti

Visit The Seven Virtues website to read more on their goal 

“to encourage others to do trade with business people in ..... nations experiencing strife, as a part of the solution to building peace.”

Read about Barb's best friend, Captain Trevor Greene, here.
FYI The 7 Virtues are: Wonder, Moderation, Truth, Courage, Justice, Wisdom and Beauty


  1. Dear Susan,
    I have just spend some time looking at the links you provided.
    I agree with the philosophy behind the seven virtues perfume but it is a shame that the products are so expensive, and as such will be available from 'high-end' shops. That will make it somewhat exclusive and out of reach of many who would possibly buy it - thus creating a greater demand.
    I guess this high price is because of the costs involved in purchasing the oil and the production of the perfume but I still think that it is a pity that the need for profits still has a say in such matters. I guess this is just a fact of life. Having said that, I admire the CEO for not drawing a salary. I hope there are no middle men/women taking a 'cut' and that the bulk of the profits go back to the Afghan farmers themselves.

    I am enjoying this new track that your blog is taking! It makes for interesting discourse and pause for thought.

    1. Good points Kirk. I was disappointed when I saw the price too. There is a debate in philanthropy circles regarding replacing the non profit model with a for profit model as a more effective way of raising funds. 7 virtues has a strong business model and identified the optimum target market for their product. I'll do some research on the rationale behind price points. Here is some bedtime reading for you

  2. Thanks for sharing this Barb's amazing story.

  3. How fantastic is this!!! I think that your new blog series is an awesome idea!! I am looking forward to learning more about ethical companies that are doing good with what they create. And I will be reading on about the perfume of peace above!

  4. And I do have a company for you to check out!!! I will send you info via email. Have a great week!!

    1. Thxs for the info. I will be following up.

  5. Great idea! My daughter and her husband began a business in China to help women suffering injustice. Chinese women are hired to knit scarves and then they sell them in the U.S. Read about their work at

    1. My mantra is "beauty will save the world" but it could just as easily be 'knitting will save the world". Knitters are reaching out in creative ways to help others. I will definitely be writing about them.

  6. I wear the orange blossom, and got tons of compliments on it. I love everything about this line of perfumes!

  7. Bravo to Barbara. To have that kind of world vision is a gift in itself. It's so easy to get caught in our own 4 walls, unable to see or give thought to the injustices of the world. Long live the orange blossom!