“In many ways my entire life is an achievement outside the expectation. I grew up very far away from the lifestyle I have today as an immigrant child with parents living off the social welfare system... certainly not an expected path or even a perceived possibility for someone like me...” - Babba Rivera
Inspiring us with the hallmarks of her personal style and making waves with her clean hair care brand, Ceremonia, Babba Rivera embodies an ability to carve out spaces that are truly her own, defined by resilience and celebration. As a founder & CEO navigating the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, Babba remains firmly rooted in her Latin heritage, drawing influences from her Swedish upbringing. Fearlessly transcending the boundaries of others' expectations, Babba reflects on paying homage to her unique path, overcoming transformative challenges, and embracing the vibrant tapestry that arises from the blending of cultural experiences and rituals.
Physically, where are you right now? Are you at home, on holiday, in the office or elsewhere?
I am in my countryside home in Tuxedo Park after what feels like a world tour of travels. Excited to be back home and settle back into routines.
Being a Latina born in Sweden and living in NY , there must be cross pollination of cultural references that not only make up your identity but connect you to place. What are the objects or personal rituals (Hygge?) that most remind you of Sweden and beyond that, your cultural heritage as a Latina woman?
Yes, I feel like I am very inspired by both of these cultures and naturally drawn to certain things and rituals as a result of my upbringing. I grew up in a very Latin household with Chilean parents who only spoke Spanish, but in a homogenous part of Sweden where most of my friends were Swedish through and through, and I think I picked up a lot of design and culture from living in-between Swedish and Latin American environments. Scent is strongly connected with my Latin heritage and many of the products from my own beauty line Ceremonia bring me mentally back to my Latin roots. Being out in nature, especially in Upstate NY, reminds me of Sweden and nothing transports me more into Swedish memories than enjoying a 'fika' outside in the sun, even when it's not warm. Swedes are obsessed with being outside regardless of weather, and no adventure is ever complete without an intentional break for fika which basically is a Swedish word for taking a moment to enjoy coffee and sweets, e.g. a cardamom bun.
For every good idea there are many more we reject. Do you ever salvage ideas that didn’t come to fruition at a later stage or do you just move on?
Yes, I feel like no ideas are necessarily bad, but they need the right context to succeed, why resurfacing old ideas makes a lot of sense when the right occasion presents itself.
What have been some personal milestones that you have achieved outside the expectation or perceived expectation of others?
In many ways my entire life is an achievement outside the expectation. I grew up very far away from the lifestyle I have today as an immigrant child with parents living off the social welfare system. Being the first in my family to graduate, to move to the capital and get a full-time job in the tech industry, to later on relocate to New York, become a home-owner and to today run my own venture-backed business while also raising two small children under 3 was certainly not an expected path or even a perceived possibility for someone like me.
What have been some of your most profound personal challenges and have they ever informed your creative process or interrupted it?
My most profound challenge was when I very suddenly and unexpectedly lost my brother as a result of a lifelong battle with mental illness and addiction. This experience is by far the most traumatic and life changing moment in my life. Life as I knew it ended right in that moment, and it took me a full year to start seeing some sort of light in the tunnel again. The silver lining is that it forced me to pull the brakes and reassess a lot in my life. It embarked me on a journey towards consciousness and unlocked a new power within me I wasn't even aware of, and in turn, unlocked a new level of creativity and a life in alignment with my purpose.
If you analysed the most important factors in your success, what would say these have been?
Persistence, Confidence, Self-Worth and Growth-mindset.
Where do you go to find creative refuge?
Nature. I love the outdoors so much, it always manages to lower the volume of my mind and alter my presence, and even better when paired together with my toddler. Seeing the depths of nature through my 2.5 year olds lens is incredibly creative!
What piece of wisdom currently resonates with you and how does it inform your approach to life right now?
Life happens when we are busy making plans – I live a very scheduled life between work and family and personal goals. It's easy to fall into the trap of living in the future instead of the present moment. I try to remind myself every day of the fact that life is happening right here, right now.