Growing up in Sweden as the daughter of Chilean immigrants, Babba Rivera says hair and beauty were always a big part of her life. Back in Chile, her father was a hairdresser, and Babba remembers him cutting the hair of friends and family in the living room of their home – and also him spending hours braiding her own long hair.
After moving to the US and reconnecting with her Latinx heritage, Babba saw a huge opportunity: Hispanics accounted for 20% of the US population, they’re an incredibly young demographic group, and they also spend a much higher amount of money, proportionally, on haircare than any other demographic – yet there was still a real lack of Latinx representation in the brands and products on the market. She launched Ceremonia (meaning ‘ceremony’ in Spanish) in order to help fill the gap.
Babba’s career path
Before launching Ceremonia, Babba worked in tech and marketing – with Uber in Stockholm, at luggage company Away and running her own agency, bybabba, which she launched in 2017 after realising the traditional agency model wasn’t a good fit for fast-growing direct-to-consumer brands. In late 2020, as her plans for Ceremonia came together, and with the pandemic still raging, she managed to raise $1 million in pre-seed investment from the likes of Female Founders Fund, joining the ranks of a tiny group: between 2009 and 2017, Latinx women-led startups received only 0.4% of total venture capital, according to a report by data analyst digitalundivided.
Five Self-care Tips
1. Meditation and Aceite de Moska
‘I love ending a long day of work with a transition moment. Usually this happens by meditating while I let our Aceite de Moska scalp treatment oil work its magic. It’s supposed to be on for about 15 minutes before washing off, so it’s become the perfect transition moment for me to squeeze in a meditation. The scent of the oil helps me relax, too.’
2. Taking a bath with palo santo
‘If I have the time, I love taking a bath to help me wind down after a long day in front of a screen. I light a palo santo [aromatic wood from the Bursera graveolens tree] while I tap up the water, add some CBD bath salts, light a candle and put on Spotify’s Peaceful Piano playlist. Even if I don’t sit and soak for a long time, just the ritual of preparing for the bath in itself is so relaxing.’
3. Cooking and listening to music
‘Another activity that gets my mind from work mode into free time is cooking. I have a new-found passion for cooking since I’ve been breastfeeding, as my hunger has completely peaked. Chopping vegetables for a big stew while listening to Spotify’s Bossa Nova Dinner playlist is very meditative for me. I also love making myself a Ghia non-alcoholic aperitivo to enjoy while cooking.’
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4. Being active outside
‘I’ve recently picked up some new outdoor winter sports – paddle tennis and cross-country skiing –which have been perfect activities to get my mind off work and enjoy a moment of fun while also working out my body and being in nature. I’m loving it. If it’s too dark or cold, I also don’t mind doing a virtual dance class through Forward Space (@forward__space) at home.’
5. Evening walk with the family
‘Nothing beats a dose of fresh air. I love ending the workday with an evening walk in the woods around our upstate house. We carry flashlights, put on reflectors and bring the dog and our baby in a carrier. After the walk, we come back energised and in a new state of mind.’
This article was first published in Courier issue 40, April/May 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.