Meet J’net Smith - Zoonicorn’s Global Licensing/Brand Director

Meet J’net Smith - Zoonicorn’s Global Licensing/Brand Director

Meet J’net Smith - Zoonicorn’s Global Licensing/Brand Director

In just a few short years, Zoonicorn has grown from an idea rich with promise into a worldwide brand. This amazing, odds-defying journey never would have happened without the passion and leadership of Brand Director, J’net Smith.

J’net knows what it takes to turn an emerging brand into a global powerhouse. While Vice President at United Media in the 90s, she saw the potential for Dilbert and built it into one of licensing’s most successful properties. When she met Zoonicorn creator Mark Lubratt at Licensing Expo in 2015, and heard his vision for Zoonicorn, J’net realized she was looking at something special. She saw the potential immediately.

“Mark’s forthright vision for Zoonicorn was evident right from the start,” comments J’net. “He has always been very disciplined about the message and the purpose of the brand. Mark has kept Zoonicorn singularly focused. The core values he articulated early on - optimism, determination and resilience - have never wavered.”

Mark retained J’net as Zoonicorn’s licensing agent, though she’s always been much more than that. Before she could even consider licensing, she set about building the brand, developing the content, establishing the design look and feel and undertaking grassroots marketing efforts. She slowly added to her team, building a group of dedicated professionals one person at a time.

“When you are launching a new brand, you need a broad understanding of all of the marketplace touchpoints,” she observes. “I’ve always gravitated toward brands in their infancy. It’s what I’m most passionate about.”

A critical moment in the life of Zoonicorn came when J’net reconnected with colleague Deb Pierson, who represents Toonz Entertainment and is now co-executive producer of the series.

“We had been searching for a company to align with, but Mark and I were determined to wait until we found the ideal fit. When I presented Zoonicorn to Deb, I could see that she got it. I knew we’d found the right partner.”

Deb connected Mark and J’net to Toonz and their collaboration started in 2020.

“From the start, Toonz has been a great match for us,” J’net states. “Their creative vision, combined with their distribution power, has been essential in making Zoonicorn a global brand.”

Today, in addition to handling licensing and overseeing all marketing for Zoonicorn, J’net also directs the Zoonicorn episodes and serves as co-executive producer.

“Just like our Zoonicorn stories, the story of Zoonicorn’s marketplace success is one of determination and resilience. Throughout this process, we’ve resisted the temptation to push ahead before the market is ready. We take one step, we build and leverage and then we build and leverage again. The results are clear. We have a property that is ahead of the ‘resiliency’ curve and has true longevity. We’re not a fad. The message, the characters and the stories ensure that Zoonicorn is going to be around for a long time.”

Back to blog