Editor’s note: For our annual Women in Business issue, we invited women in our local business communities to share insights they’ve gained through their work in Western North Carolina.
Rachel Baran is the owner and operator of Sun Dragon Flower Farm in Clyde. The company’s primary goal, says Baran, “is to elevate people’s lives with our flowers, through weddings, events and farmers markets.”
Xpress: What piece of advice do you wish you’d been told prior to launching your business?
Baran: I think oftentimes when people start new businesses, they’re told to prioritize goals by creating a solid business plan. While that is so important to the health and success of your business, I wish that someone had told me that it’s just as critical to reflect on the current state of the business and to be proud of the current progress and success. It’s so easy to get caught up in “What’s next,” rather than, “Wow, look how far I’ve come!”
How do you feel women in leadership experience their roles differently today than they may have in the past?
I feel that in comparison to previous decades, there is much greater representation of women in leadership roles. In agriculture, for example, the share of U.S. female-owned farms has increased over the past three decades. It’s still a really low number; something like 9% of U.S. farms are solely operated by women. But these women who are currently in leadership roles are thriving, and it’s amazing to see more women fill these seats at the table.
What is your most memorable experience as a business owner, and what have you learned from it?
My most memorable experience was celebrating the first anniversary of farming full time after leaving my day job of three years. It took a tremendous amount of courage and grit for me to take that leap of faith. The greatest lesson I’ve learned thus far is to reflect on my progress as I keep moving forward, because five years ago I only dreamed about being in my position, and I’m only just getting started.