Babba Rivera by JEFF THIBODEAU

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Every issue, GRAZIA USA highlights Game Changers, who inspire, educate, and celebrate individuality, beauty, and style. Meet Babba C. Rivera, the successful entrepreneur and Ceremonia founder bringing clean formulas, sustainability and inclusivity to the haircare aisle. 

Ever since I was a child, I felt like an entrepreneur at heart. I was opinionated, creative, and didn’t take the status quo as a hard truth. I never liked hierarchy. I remember presenting ideas and diving into projects outside of my scope, even as an intern. The question was never if I would become an entrepreneur, but more so, when, and how.

My journey began with Uber, and it was an incredible opportunity for me as a young and ambitious woman. It was daunting to leave a company I had been with for so long and branch out on my own. I needed a push to pull the trigger and resign, so I left Uber for the company Away. Then, I realized I needed to do my own thing. I didn’t feel like I had another five years in me to work for someone else.

I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own brand marketing agency, bybabba. I will always look back on that chapter with so much joy. It taught me so much and laid the perfect foundation for my second company, Ceremonia.

After working with many beauty brands, I did a lot of research in the haircare space to better understand the landscape. It became very clear to me that the future of beauty is clean and inclusive. The Latinx demographic accounts for not only the largest minority in the U.S., but also the top spenders within the category, spending 46% more on hair products than non-Hispanics. Despite this data, the status quo looked very different, especially in the hair aisle. Hair is the fastest growing category within beauty, and the Latinx demographic is the fastest growing, yet most underserved, consumer opportunity today.

I felt an incredible void in the market for a wellness approach to hair, coupled with a desire to increase representation of my community and culture within beauty. The hair category was years behind other areas of beauty, like skincare and makeup. As a customer, I was looking for a high- performing and clean offering, versus just masking symptoms under heavy chemicals.

I began to feel a strong sense of responsibility to propel change and be part of the solution. Ceremonia was born out of the desire to celebrate the richness of Latin culture, inspired by my heritage and the rituals I grew up with as the daughter of a Latin American hairdresser father.

We’re flipping the script through a hair wellness approach. It’s obvious to me that the future of beauty is clean, sustainable, and inclusive. Powered by natural ingredients from Latin America, Ceremonia is on a mission to redefine the hair aisle. In five years, we’ve become a household name as a category disrupter.

I dream of paving the way for future Latinx businesses. I can’t think of a better way to do so then by creating a successful Latinx benchmark in the market. One day, I hope to be able to advise and invest in mission-driven founders to help accelerate the future of equality and representation.

Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to design life on my own terms. The journey of a solo founder is far from chill or balanced, but it’s brought me a lot of joy and empowerment.

While I think you can have it all, I don’t think you can have it all at once. I’m laser focused on my company and my children. The small pockets of time in-between, I prioritize self-care and wellness in the most efficient way possible. One superpower I’ve unlocked since becoming a mom is being extremely efficient.

I live by the mantra that things are better done than perfect. Just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t always moving in the perfect direction, but what will ensure you get to the right place eventually, is to keep moving.

I’ve never had a perfectly planned roadmap for my future, but I’m an excellent manifester of life. I let myself gravitate towards what brings me joy, and I believe that we tend to see the greatest success when we focus on the things that bring us joy. When work doesn’t feel like work, that’s the true advantage.

Read GRAZIA USA’s Winter issue featuring cover star Lizzy Caplan: