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Jon Nokes founded the Smart Group of companies in 1991 and rapidly established an industry reputation for product and marketing creativity ("We are only interested in making our own trails and not in following others.") and integrity ("Inventors and their ideas are safe with us. That is why we get so many referrals from others in this industry"). His first two products, Smart Mop and Smart Chopper, were featured in Time Magazine's "Top Ten Selling Products In History at HSN network." His vision for a one-stop fully-integrated company led to recruitment of top people in their segments of the industry, and the development of company divisions with state-of-the-art capabilities: Production, DR Campaigns, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Shopping Channels, Retail, and International Distribution. Jon is personally involved in each marketing campaign, and oversees new product development.

A continuing stream of successful products, integrity, and impeccable financial credentials have made Smart Inventions the undisputed leader in the Direct Response industry. In 1992, he used a credit card to purchase a container load of Smart Mops from Europe and sent a team of pitchmen out to sell it on the fair circuit. Smart Mop sales that next year grossed $1.8 million. In a truly smart move, Nokes decided to plough profits into redesigning the mop and setting up his own manufacturing. Then he borrowed his Dad's $60,000 life-savings to launch his first TV infomercial. The gamble paid off. Smart Mop sales ballooned to $44 million within 12 months, and to $55 million the following year, becoming the fastest-selling mop in history. (Dad got his investment back with interest, plus a new car.) "It was like hanging onto a runaway train," says Nokes.

Jon Nokes and Family

Smart Mop was to become simply the first in a long line of smart products. The industry's Washington DC-based Electronic Retailing Association awarded Smart Mop, QuickSand (and TapLight) their ERA Awards in recognition of their ingenuity and successes. The national retail community has also embraced Smart Inventions' products, which are now distributed through more than 100 U.S. retail chains.

But Nokes always places emphasis on direct TV marketing. "In our business, it's all about being first to market with quality goods at great value," says Nokes. "Direct TV gives you that edge. You've got to hit hard and fast at the get-go in order to capture the market ahead of the knock-offs and copy-cat competitors."

But direct TV marketing is not for the faint of heart. "Cost of entry is very expensive," says Nokes. "With TapLight, for instance, we spent more than $9 million in direct TV, plus a further $2 million for an advertising blitz in the print media." While the industry considers a return of 2-to1 to be a success, Smart Inventions' sales-to-expenditure ratios have been as high as 6-to-l.

Smart Inventions has become an industry leader by playing smart, skillfully harnessing the power of television as a sales tool, and creating demand before rolling out at retail. Now the company is leading the trend once again by adding the Internet to the mix, and has set up shop at "It's just another form of direct response marketing," says Nokes. "One with a low cost of entry, and very high profit margins."

It's just another smart move for Smart Inventions in a long line of successes.

Jon lives in Malibu, California with his wife of 15 years Darbe a former model
and Dallas Cowboy cheerleader and their four sons Jake (13), Shane (12), Joe (10) and Alex (6).
Jon enjoys coaching his boys soccer teams on his leisure time and is an icon in his community.