Unilever Ventures backs fragrance for first time with The 7 Virtues investment

By Julia Wray | Published: 2-Nov-2023

Unilever’s VC arm joined forces with True Beauty Ventures to complete the ‘clean’ fragrance brand’s first institutional financing round

Unilever Ventures, the venture capital business of Unilever, has teamed up with US investment firm True Beauty Ventures to back indie fragrance label The 7 Virtues. 

It marks the first time either company has invested in a fragrance brand. 

Canada-based The 7 Virtues will use this – its first institutional financing round –  to open a New York office, bolster its team and magnify its global expansion with Sephora.

The ‘clean’ fragrance player also hopes to open a ‘maison’ in Nova Scotia, Canada, where clients can visit to create their own bespoke perfumes.

Founded in 2010 by author Barb Stegemann and inspired by her book ‘The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen’, fragrances in the brand’s line-up are sustainably sourced (the company has pending B Corp certification) and include a high 22% fragrance oil concentration. 

One of the activist brand’s founding missions is said to be advancing period equity as a means to build peace. 

Skus, including bestseller Vanilla Woods, are currently sold via the brand's website and Sephora stores in 18 countries, including Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

“We are thrilled to partner with Barb Stegemann and The 7 Virtues for Unilever Ventures’ first investment in fragrance,” commented Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville, Partner at Unilever Ventures.

“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.”

“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, which we are excited to provide as this team takes The 7 Virtues to the next level,” said True Beauty Ventures co-founder and Partner Rich Gersten. 

The 7 Virtues’ CEO Stegemann added: “When Sephora took a chance on our little known brand in 2018, they told us they loved that we take on serious world issues, but we don't take ourselves too seriously.

“Our goal to advance period equity as a means to build peace by empowering women at home and abroad and giving them back control over their reproductive rights is the path to lasting change.”

Unilever Ventures’ first fragrance investment follows other big beauty players banking on the category. 

​​In May this year, Coty unveiled Infiniment Coty Paris, dubbed the company’s most ambitious and premium fragrance collection to date. 

Meanwhile, Kering, the owner of luxury fashion houses Gucci and Balenciaga, acquired luxury perfume house Creed for its newly formed beauty division.

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