Acquainted: An Interview With Babba C Rivera
Acquainted is a three-part series featuring conversations with downtown entrepreneurs based out of Spring Place in Tribeca. First up, we talk to Babba C Rivera, a native-born Swede who has made serious ground in New York since making the city her home in 2015. After a stint as the marketing manager for Uber, during which time she earned a spot on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, Babba lent her know-how to luggage label Away as the director of brand marketing, before officially launching her brand marketing agency, bybabba, in 2017. Here, she makes the case for subverting the status quo, taking note of the in-between moments, and forever striving for a new norm. Plus she shares a few of her favorite downtown spots.
Where’s home for you in New York? How long have you lived there?
Babba C Rivera: Brooklyn Heights. I’ve lived there since the summer but it’s been a renovation project, to say the least, so I feel like it’s not until recently that I truly started to ‘live’ there.
What do you remember most vividly about your first few months in the city?
BCR: I moved to New York nearly five years ago; I lived in the East Village. I remember feeling so energized by the feeling of the city truly never sleeping. I loved that I could get dinner at Frankie’s at any time of the day, even if that meant at 1am after going out on a Monday.
What appealed to you about joining Spring Place?
BCR: I was looking for an office but didn’t yet have a team, so I was looking for a place where I could interact with others on a similar journey as myself, but also a place where I could grow. I have been a member since June 2017, and I love that I have been able to truly grow my business from here and that I now am able to host a team of 10 people under the same roof. I love that I get to build a team here, while also growing my network and having all the amenities that make my day-to-day easier, such as having a restaurant in the same building with a top chef, convenient concierge services and fun event programming.
In what ways is downtown New York a source of inspiration for you?
BCR: I love downtown New York! It’s so vibrant and ever-changing. I’m grateful to have my office here as I still get to be part of the downtown pulse, without having to live here anymore. My home is just 15 minutes over the bridge and I truly feel like I am getting the best of both worlds.
How do keep yourself motivated and your ideas fresh when working on new projects and collaborations?
BCR: I think my most creative ideas come in the in-between moments, which is why I try to keep a balance between the go-go mentality and having some slow mornings with my dog and a good book. This contrast is what drives my creativity.
Is there a mantra that you live by or feel best summarizes the guiding principle behind bybabba?
BCR: To always question the status quo and never stop dreaming of a new norm.
Can you tell us a few of your favorite downtown spots to…
BCR: BonBon! It’s a super cute Swedish candy store that brings out my childhood imagination every time I visit.
Take a client for dinner?
BCR: Café Clover, mainly because they serve Kin Euphorics, which I appreciate a lot as I recently stopped drinking alcohol.
Find a moment of stillness in the city’s perpetual flow?
BCR: Chillhouse. I love going there for a massage, nail art or just a matcha latte to take a break.
Pick up something healthy for lunch?
BCR: Sweetgreen is my go-to for a healthy lunch and Maman for an afternoon hot chocolate.
Celebrate a special occasion?
BCR: Cafe Select has this quirky room that is used for hosting intimate parties. We hosted our bybabba holiday dinner there! It’s very New York and you have to enter the room by walking through the restaurant kitchen which is kind of fun.
Shop for an event-worthy outfit?
BCR: What Goes Around Comes Around. I get endless inspiration by shopping its incredible vintage curation; each piece feels so uniquely special.