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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Take Calculated Risks

For Karen and Michael Good, saying "yes" to customers is inseparable from the design and quality built into each piece of signature jewelry.

Key Question:


Karen Good is seasoned and salty. She tells it like it is. You can mope around and wish you had more business or you can think of what you can do to grow. Just thinking about stepping out and doing something different is going to take some nerve and verve. You saw her's on display.

What should you do to test an idea?

Karen told us to simply ask the question, "What's the worst-case scenario? What am I going to lose here?" The great thing for Karen and Michael is they have years of experience under their belts now. They are at peace. They have their business in the groove they love. To get to that point, Karen is saying it will take more action and less fretting. Karen also said we need to, "Be opportunistic." Is being opportunistic different from being an opportunist? Yes. If you really have a quality product, then it is not opportunism as defined by "little regard to principles," but it is weighing the risks. It is not a total disregard for the consequences, but the beginning of an international shipment-to-receipt-of-payment, profit-loss ratio.

Think about it

What risk do you need to take next? What is the worst thing that could happen if you take action? What could be your back-up plan if your idea flops? What will you gain if your idea works?

Clip from: Marketing From A Distance - Maine to the world

One of eleven business owners in this episode

The Coast of Maine: Meet people who see the world as their marketplace. They see beyond the horizon; they know no boundaries and no borders; the world's people are their family.

In this episode of the show we meet eleven business owners who would rather live in Maine than anywhere else in the world. They are seasoned travelers who, after touring the world, decided to stay in Maine and make it their home and build their legacy.

Every person in this episode is committed to their community. They are active in their local Chamber and they are driven to make their community and our world a better place.  
And, we could go to every village, city and town in the world and find people like the people you meet here.  
These are the quiet heroes. Many are new pioneers. They charter new waters and break new grounds. They all create unique products and services and sell them around the world. They are volunteers, the value creators, the movers, the shakers, the doers, and the lovers of life. We can learn a lot from these hardworking, decent folks.

Michael Good Designs, Inc.

Karen Good, Co-Owner

PO Box 788
Rockport, ME 04856

Visit our web site:

Office: 2072369619

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1969

Take Calculated Risks

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Karen Good of Michael Good Designs is a veteran business owner.

KAREN GOOD (Michael Good Designs): Oh, Michael started looking at jewelry and making jewelry in the late '60s, right before we moved to Maine and we started making jewelry. The first line we made was flat, hammered, very, you know, 1969. If you looked at it, you'd say, `That's 1969.' But it was very nice and we sold it to a few department stores.

(Voiceover) And when we moved to Maine, we thought we would continue that, but we didn't realize that there was a serious learning curve. We, for many, many years, just struggled with trying to make things and get them to the people who wanted them, because we had to learn to produce. We had to learn to market. We had to learn to make a profit on all of this, and it was a process.

HATTIE: And you now know.

KAREN: Yes, I think we know. We do. We're doing all right.

HATTIE: Let's talk a little bit about what you're wearing. And are these earrings something special?

KAREN: These are our signature pieces. This is the piece that, when people look at these earrings, they say, `Oh, Michael Good.' (Voiceover) Whether you're on an airplane or walking down Fifth Avenue or on the beach in Puerto Rico, they say, `Oh, those are Michael Good earrings.' And this is our signature earrings.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Oh, so is he famous?

KAREN: (Voiceover) I guess. I mean, how many jewelers are famous? You know, yeah, famous among jewelers, very famous among jewelers, famous among jewelry lovers.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Being well thought of is not the only reason this business succeeds.

KAREN: Well, I think being in a small business is an opportunistic thing, you know. It's between getting everything ready--whatever the Girl Scout motto was--`Be prepared'--at that end to being totally opportunistic -- am I ready to take advantage of absolutely any chance that comes my way? I always play this game with myself. What's the worst-case scenario? What am I going to lose here? I'm either going to stay in the same place, which sounds dreadful, or I'm going to... I have a good illustration of this. We got an order from someone in Austria, and we had no idea how to ship it, not a clue. So we put it in a box, we wrapped it up, and we sent it. What could happen? I would lose $300 worth of jewelry. That's what I would lose. Or I would get a check back for that amount of money. And I got a check back. It went, it got delivered, and we said, `OK.' We said, `Now we know how to do that.'

HATTIE: Now that was your first European order.

KAREN: Yeah, my first European order. It was one pair of earrings, and we just sent it.

HATTIE: So what did I just hear you say? Take opportunities ...

KAREN: Oh, yes, totally opportunistic. Don't be afraid of anything. Play a worst-case scenario with yourself. What's the worst thing that can happen? Can I live with the worst-case scenario? And then do it.

HATTIE (Studio): If you feel you're on a treadmill, visit Maine. You'll be refreshed by the beauty and inspired by the small-business owners who are devoted to getting things just right. But, don't think about marketing from a distance unless you have a unique product and unless you're willing to devote yourself completely to quality.

We'll see you next time.

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