At Holy Matcha, matcha is their craft, their ritual, their way of life. Ridaura is committed to educating and engaging the community of San Diego by cultivating memorable experiences in the café, focused on inclusivity and mentorship
Now more than ever, it's time for radical ideas. What role does Holy Matcha play in connecting new ideas and approaches in the community?
Since the founding, my business model was built on inclusivity in its core. Matcha is not something that is grown in US, nor do most people have familiarity with it. Yet I felt it was extremely important to combine different thoughts, people, backgrounds, and cultures together in order to fully make Holy Matcha what it is.
I’m Mexican and a lot of people are shocked when they find out I’m the owner. English is my second language. Inclusivity is something I will always value and have a passion for. If you are not going to include everyone, why bother? I knew the substance the company needed to have. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but rather respect an ancient product, its culture, and ancestors in an effort to educate the people here…my community, employees, customers and family.
"Inclusivity is something I will always value and have a passion for. If you are not going to include everyone, why bother?"
How do you value equity and inclusion in your mission, team and within the larger San Diego community?
There is a huge misconception that the owners always right, and there’s also a huge misconception that we have everything figured out. My customers are the ones that have built my menu, I take their feedback to heart. It’s a community. I want to listen to them. Every single gesture counts. I would be nothing without my customers.
I value my community from the second they walk in. They do not represent just “sales” to me. They take care of me and I take care of them. My team understands the psychological aspect of customer service. You need to have a soul, you need to care, you need to have passion. The customers can tell. The inclusivity and open-mindedness in the community is why I chose the location.
You’ve shared previously about embracing unique lived experiences. Do you have any advice to other aspiring female Latina entrepreneurs?
There are some things school won’t teach you. Entrepreneurship is within you. I don’t like to fit into a box. I came to San Diego to perfect my English and it just clicked. It was effortless.
If you don’t have passion, on the worse, darkest day, you need to reconsider your business. Passion and having heart is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s what get you through. For me, coronavirus, was my darkest moment, I had no clue what to do, financially to take care of my business, but more importantly was that I take care of my staff.
What was one of the most valuable pieces of advice gained from a mentor in your journey?
My mother has been my only mentor. She will definitely let you know what’s she’s thinking. She helped build a lot of resilience. I was settling for “good enough” and she wanted “beyond amazing”. It helped me brand my company. Even when I’m having a tough day, she pushes me to carry on.
It’s made me so strong, it’s what kept me going. All you can do is figure it out.
What interested in you sharing your passion as an Entrepreneur in Residence at UC San Diego?
I was so honored to be among such a distinguished group of individuals. It wasn’t until I connected with the UC San Diego community, that I saw the hunger and entrepreneurial soul these students had for answers. They showed up for office hours and really engaged with the program.
There were so many people I could help. If I could go back, I would start this in my alma mater, USD. It’s been very organic the connections I’ve made.
Where do you believe San Diego is headed in the larger national innovation ecosystem? Any hopeful predictions for UC San Diego and the communities that you are part of?
The future is very bright. UC San Diego is going to be much stronger because of its diversity and because of the drive these students have. If you can just point them in the right direction, they will grab the opportunities and be amazing. They will make all of us proud.
"The future is very bright. UC San Diego is going to be much stronger because of its diversity and because of the drive these students have..."