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Station Breaks

More than $40 million in sales...for a mop? In the unconventional, red-hot medium of direct-response TV, entrepreneurial stars are being born at a breathtaking clip. Are you ready for your close-up?

This story appears in the September 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jon Nokes had been demonstrating the SmartMop, a unique Finnish mop with a self-wringing twist action, at state fairs and home shows across the United States for three years. Sales of the product had been fairly brisk: In 1993, his company, Los Angeles-based Smart Inventions Inc., which owns the mop, grossed $1.8 million--not bad considering the company was being run from Nokes' Santa Monica apartment.

But Nokes, 46, wasn't satisfied. Customers raved about SmartMop, and he knew it would sell like hot cakes if only he could reach a larger audience.

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