BABBA RIVERA ON SELF-CARE, LIFE'S SEASONS AND MORE

Celebrating our collaboration with Latinx haircare brand Ceremonia, we talk with founder Babba Rivera about her growth as an entrepreneur, how she got into haircare, the inspiration behind our new towel, and more.

In partnership with Latinx haircare brand Ceremonia, we reimagine the Flowe Multi-Purpose Performance towel in their signature guava-inspired pink and red colorway. As a haircare brand rooted in Latin heritage and intentional self-care, Ceremonia is redefining modern day rituals through purposeful hair wellness and natural ingredients.

To celebrate our launch, we talk with founder and CEO Babba Rivera. Currently based in New York, Babba is known for her creativity and marketing prowess. Through the years, she has helmed brands such as Uber and Away before building Ceremonia on her own, where she now champions Latin culture and creativity.

Hi, Babba. Could you tell us about yourself?

I’m Babba! The founder and CEO of Ceremonia, a clean hair care brand leading the way for the future of Latinx Beauty.

What motivated you to start Ceremonia? Why hair care?

Growing up as a Latin American immigrant in a homogenous country like Sweden, I never found myself represented in mainstream media or in the products I consumed — especially in hair and beauty. My father was a hairdresser, so hair has always been a central part of my culture and identity. With Ceremonia, I wanted to reclaim my naturally healthy childhood hair through the rituals I grew up with and share it with the world. I believe that we should only put products on our hair and skin that don’t just make us look and feel good for the day, but actually serve us long-term, too. With Ceremonia, I’m on a mission to reimagine the hair care space through a wellness approach, packing every single product with nutrition and targeting hair concerns from the root cause, instead of just masking the symptoms like so many other products on the market.

Ceremonia is inspired by the rituals you grew up with as Latinx. Personally, how would you describe your hair and self-care rituals? And why are they important to you?

Rituals were deeply rooted in my upbringing. I have many fond memories with my family pertaining  to rituals, beauty in particular. My mom taught me from an early age the importance of self-care, simply by practicing it for herself. She would shamelessly indulge in 2-hour baths and showers, and everyone in the family knew better than to disturb her during this time! She also led by example in how she treated her skin and hair with nourishing products that focus on moisture and care, versus styling and masking. As I’ve gotten older, instead of fighting my hair’s natural texture, I’ve learned to embrace the hair I have and treat it well so it can be the best version of itself! Through Ceremonia, I pay tribute to my Latin culture because there is so much to be celebrated — from powerful ingredients that are native to the region, to rich rituals around beauty as self-care and self-love. Not to mention, the attention and care that goes into beauty as a whole.

You’ve achieved a lot these last few years — from establishing a glowing career in DTC marketing, to becoming a solo founder of Ceremonia in 2020, to entering motherhood. How do you navigate and welcome each chapter, while celebrating different seasons of life?

Thank you! Professionally speaking, I feel like my unconventional path towards becoming a beauty founder has been a great asset for me. I initially built my career in fashion, then tech, and then merged all of my experience into starting my first company, which was a brand marketing agency focused on DTC businesses within wellness, beauty, and fashion. I firmly believe my experience leading me here is one of my best advantages because it allows me to bring a fresh perspective into this industry and look at each new chapter as an exciting new opportunity. Being an entrepreneur has also allowed me to design life on my own terms. While the journey of a solo founder of a venture-backed business is far from chill or balanced, it has brought me a lot of joy and empowerment. I feel like I can design my lifestyle, merging family life with business and vice versa. The greatest lesson is, while I do think you can have it all, I don’t think you can have it all at once. For me, this currently means that I’m laser-focused on my company and my children. And with the small pockets of time I get in-between those two priorities, I try to fit in self-care and wellness in the most efficient way possible. As a result, a lot of other passions have had to go, such as trips with friends, parties, learning new hobbies, taking on side-hustles, alone time, adventure trips, etc.

What challenges did you face amid these changes?

There have been many challenges for me in the past few years. I went into fundraising at the start of the pandemic, at a time when investors were wary and uncertain about how to navigate investments. I was also very pregnant through this journey and faced a lot of questioning as a solo-founder + soon-to-be first-time mom. All these challenges have further fueled my belief in the Ceremonia brand, and the importance of my own journey as a female founder. This has motivated me to ensure our business model is watertight from the start in order to survive, and it’s helped us ride the waves to be where we are now.

Business challenges aside, I’ve also had a difficult year, personally. My mother was diagnosed with cancer right around the time of my second pregnancy, which caused much fear and anxiety for me as I managed the business and battled first trimester symptoms. I share this because it is sometimes tempting to look at someone from the outside and think they have it all so easy. But the reality is, we all go through our own challenges — personal ones and business ones. But they all teach us incredible life lessons that can be applied in all areas of life.

AS BRANDS THAT ARE BOTH CELEBRATING EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS, WE’RE GLAD TO COLLABORATE WITH YOU ON THESE LIMITED EDITION TOWELS. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ENJOYING YOUR FLOWE TOWEL SO FAR? WHAT ADVENTURES WILL YOU BE TAKING IT ON?

I’m obsessed with our collaboration piece! Not only is it the perfect pop of color, but it really stands out among any beach towels I’ve used before because of how thin and easy to pack it is. Plus, it’s incredibly soft and generous in size. The fact that it’s made from recycled materials and repurposes waste into something beautiful is obviously extremely important to me too. I have a few fun trips coming up, so I’m looking forward to giving it its moment in the sun!

Could you tell us more about the colors you’ve chosen for our collaboration piece and your creative process behind it?

The colors chosen align with Ceremonia’s bright and colorful product line and are inspired by the juicy hues of ripe guavas. The red and pink palette of our best-selling Guava collection  evokes an elevated sense of fun and excitement for the summer ahead. We hope this luxe towel keeps Guava Summer going all year long.

You launched your Guava Summer campaign last year, showcasing the creative, Latinx culture around Miami. What do your own summers usually look like growing up as a Latinx? Are there any traditions you continue to do?

A tradition I love to look back on is growing up with my father braiding my hair constantly. He would spend endless time (close to 8 hours!) putting so much care into it. Although this tradition wasn’t exclusive to summer, braids feel so tied to Latin culture to me. You can find locals braiding hair on the beaches in Latin America, and even some iconic figures wore this style, like Frida Kahlo. Her infamous braids were actually the inspiration for our braided satin Frida headband, which is a bestseller and elevates any outfit in a snap.

What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

As I’m a new mother of two, I can’t wait to be spending more time with my family and friends while soaking up all the joy that NYC summer has to offer. I’m staying local because of the baby, and hope to have the blessing of hosting my mom at our Upstate house. She is slowly but surely recovering from her cancer treatment. I can’t wait for her to meet her new granddaughter, and treat her to all the amazing self-care that NYC has to offer. Obviously, I’ll be protecting my strands with Ceremonia’s Guava Rescue Spray and Leave-In Cream while I’m out enjoying the sun, and keeping my hair salt-kissed with our new Beach Waves spray!