Jul 11, 2014

SquidCam - A Talk with the Creator and a Giveaway!

I love when someone has a good idea and I'm all about promoting people who take the initiative to go out on a limb and pursue their passion. One such person is Charles Mercader, creator of SquidCam. I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles, who not only sent a SquidCam for me to try out for myself, but was generous enough to offer another so I could host a GIVEAWAY! Keep reading to find out how to enter the giveaway. 

What is your name and where do you live? 

CM:  My name is Charles Mercader and I am from Sacramento, California. I’m the founder of SquidCam. My current duties are everything from marketing, social media, assembly, support etc. I started this product a little over a year ago and slowly I'm growing it. Product design and mobile photography are my passion.




How and when did you come up with the idea for SquidCam?

CM:  I came up with the SquidCam when I started noticing magnetic attached lenses on mobile phones, but I noticed typically one could not use a case while using these lenses. I’ve always liked building block toys and I realized that a case with a grid pattern to attach lenses would be awesome. The case alone would stand out itself and now add lenses, it immediately gave me the drive to start this product.

An iconic case design, built around the building block look + iPhone lenses kit.



How did you decide on the name?

CM:  The case started as a silicone case with the iPhone 4/4s and the inside of the case looking like suction cups. The rubber feel of the material reminded me of a mollusk like “octopus,” since Octopus was a little long, “squid” made more sense. Add the “cam” for camera and there you have it, “SquidCam.”

How does the SquidCam work?

CM:  The lenses are bonded to the adapter piece - simply align and snap them on to the case. The fisheye lens has a 180-degree view, unscrew the fisheye lens for 15x macro. The wide angle has almost 2x the viewing range, unscrew the wide angle lens for the 10x macro.

What lenses come with the SquidCam? Are they comparable in quality to Olloclip?

CM:  We basically have the same functioning lenses 4in1: fisheye, wide angle and 10x/15x macro. The main difference is that my lenses attach by snapping on to the case. The lenses never touch the phone, so it cannot scratch the phone from repeated removal.

With the lenses mounted it is much thinner than most other setups since it is all on the backside of the phone. The case for the 5/5s is a hybrid polymer material; stiff polycarbonate back and over molded thermo polymer sides that won't crack or stretch.

What sets ours apart is that the SquidCam is bold and colorful. It really speaks for itself, everywhere I go people notice the case and the lenses; it really is a conversation starter. (Geri's note: I can vouch for this, I carried mine with me out to dinner last night and got all kinds of questions from the server at the restaurant).

The colored blocks can be customized upon ordering to create different aesthetic looks to match your favorite colors, sports team colors, college colors, etc.

With the lenses attaching to the case, there is a little bit more vignetting/shadowing since there is more space between the lens and the camera. A lot of photographers like this effect for the fisheye and wide angle, but it can easily be worked around via zooming or post cropping.


© trumaebelle
Macro Sample © @trumaebelle
Can the lenses be purchased separately or do you have to buy the whole set?

CM:  I want everyone who purchases a SquidCam to have the full experience, so all 4 lenses come together with the case. Replacement lenses can be purchased separately.

Are you an active iPhoneographer?

CM:  Yes I’m an active iPhoneographer. I’m the one and only curator on the @squidcam Instagram account. The SquidCam IG account has a lot of my customer’s SquidCam photos. For the product photos, those are all taken by me with the iPhone, I only use the iPhone and my lenses to take product pics of my product. Being a car hobbyist, the automotive related photos on my page are typically my personal photos.

My followers will definitely agree that I’m very proactive in my community; every comment and question I receive is thanked and replied to. I make customer service my priority and having social media like Instagram is perfect for connecting with your fans and customers.


@antoinettemarrie
Fisheye © @antoinettemarrie
Olloclip has an app that removes some of the distortion from images using their lenses. Have you thought of adding an app to the SquidCam line?

CM:  I have thought about it, but my main priority is expanding the product line. For an app like that, I will definitely have to find an expert camera app developer team to create what I would like since app development is not my field of expertise. There are many apps out there which can be used to edit SquidCam fisheye and wide angle photos including the Olloclip app.

How has the SquidCam been received by the public?

CM:  People love it, the case is so bold and speaks for itself and add the lens to the whole package; it serves as functional and fashionable. I always have people asking me about the case as they’ve never seen anything like it before.

Do you have any other projects you're working on?

CM:  I want to work on creating formal packaging for the product. By operating mainly through online sales, I haven’t needed formal retail product packaging. I think it will be a step to making the product experience better and is the first step towards possible retail sales.

I currently have the iPhone 5c SquidCam case on pre-sale order on the website. www.squidc.am 

Another product I’m working on is a tripod mount adapter and a lens kit for the Samsung Galaxy phones.


©lowerthenu
Wide Angle Lens ©lowerthenu
Is there anything else you'd like to add?

CM:  It’s been a lot of work and I hope everyone can enjoy it. I’m definitely thankful for Instagram, the greater percentage of my orders come from Instagram alone and will continue to listen to my customers/fans on further developing the SquidCam.

I think the Olloclip is a great product, one of the best; they are the biggest in distribution. A lot of the mobile lens systems do the same thing, but we all differ in the ways they attach to the phone and our execution. I think we all have our strengths and weaknesses and it is important for iPhoneographers to know of the lens kit options that are in the market place.

I’m not saying we are the best, but the SquidCam does it with more flair!
Links: SquidCam / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr

Geri's First Impressions on SquidCam 

I didn't quite know what to expect when opening up my SquidCam packaging. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really loved the case. Charles sent me a black case and and a red case along with the lenses and four colored blocks to spruce up my SquidCam. The case easily slipped right on my iPhone 5s and all openings perfectly aligned with the iPhone. I tested the Sleep/Wake and Volume buttons and everything worked. The case provides a nice bumper edge to my phone as well, so it not only looks cool, it protects as well.

Next, I had a look at the lenses. They fit very tightly on to the case and feel really secure. I shook the case up and down and the lenses didn't budge. I gave each of the lenses a test run as well. All shots were clear and crisp and the lenses each provided the expected results. I'm looking forward to trying them further the next time I head out on a photo shoot, especially the fisheye and wide angle.
© Geri Centonze
Left to Right: Without SquidCam, 10X Macro, 15X Macro © Geri Centonze
If there is ever an update to the SquidCam case, I have only one suggestion. Currently you can attach one lens to the case for shooting and attach the other right next to it which makes it easy to switch lenses. I would love to be able to attach both lenses to the case. This would allow easy access to both lenses and still allow me to shoot without them as well.

I'd like to thank the following photographers who granted permission to post their photos - find their Instagram galleries here:
@trumaebelle
@antoinettemarrie
@lowerthenu

  
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below. Note SquidCam is available for iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5/5s and iPod 5 only. I will draw one winner by random draw on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. PDT. Good Luck!

UPDATE: For anyone ordering the SquidCam case and lenses you can get free domestic shipping by using the promo code "artofmob".

UPDATE: The winner was chosen by Random Number Generator. I assigned each entry a number and used the generator to select the winner. Congrats to Carolyn Hall Young. I will be in touch by email to give you the details. Thanks to all who entered. 




105 comments:

  1. Looks great! The building block design is classic and playful while serving an ideal functional purpose. I would be curious how the connection of lens attachments wears over time. Does the case/lens base maintain its tight grip or is there much wear and tear.

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  2. I really want try this lenses in macro mode with some bug's buddy ;)

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  3. WOW excelent giveaway Geri.

    I'm looking for a lens for my iPhone, I like the Olloclip, but these look very nice. Quality level optical are they similar? Has anyone been able to try both and compare? Thank you.

    Geri, Now before buying lenses wait until July 18, by itself I have luck :)

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  4. Awesome article! @Trumaebelle is my sister! She has a fantastic IG account using @squidcam…
    I hope I can win the giveaway!

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  5. Can I say I loved read this?? First of all-I had an ollo clip but when I went from the 4s to the 5-it didn't fit. And I love the idea of not taking the phone case off when you want to use a lens. Brilliant idea to have the lenses snap onto the case. Thank you Charles AND. Geri. Xo and yes please enter me in the contest!!!

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  6. Very interesting...can inspire one to new directions

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  7. At last, a product that allows me to have my phone in a protective case AND use external lenses! Just love this idea!!

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  8. I really love it. As an Olloclip owner I was really impressed and prefer this design and functionality

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  9. Good luck Enrique. As always I love reading your comments

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  10. Check out the #squidcam hashtag on Instagram and you'll see what people are doing with it! Good luck with the giveaway

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  11. Good luck Kelly. I just love my SquidCam! The case has added a funky look to my iPhone too. Now I'm one of the cool kids

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  12. This looks like a great solution for people like me who can't find the lens they want to use RIGHT NOW. I miss so many macro shot possibilities.

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  13. Good luck Carisa. I love what your sister has done with the SquidCam lenses

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  14. I have the a Olloclip and it is definitely comparable. I like the snap on design and case better than the Olloclip (I even bought the Olloclip case but it doesn't provide as much protection for my liking plus I love the SquidCam's rubber bumper which gives me a good grip when I'm shooting.

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  15. Macro is my favorite too! I'm looking forward to trying more fisheye and wide angle though to see what I can do. Good luck

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  16. The Olloclip didn't work for me because I like to keep a case on my iPhone, but the squidcam looks great because it works with the cover!

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  17. Yes, you won't miss a shot with the macro lens always on the case!

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  18. I agree Anne. The design is really clever and I like the look and feel too!

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  19. I can't imagine the connection loosening as it fits so snugly and the material seems durable, but I guess only time will tell. The case also has a rigid bottom and flexible sides which I think will help it keep it's shape over the long run. Good luck with the draw.

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  20. Hi Jeri,


    Always on the lookout for new possibilities.
    This looks great!


    Thanks,


    Eitan

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  21. Thank you very much for your comment Geri. I'm glad there are 2 good alternatives to choose from.

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  22. Good Luck Eitan! It is definitely a nice lens set and case!

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  23. This looks fantastic! Would like to give it a try...

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  24. What a nice thing! I´d love to own one. Would be very useful for me.

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  25. Awesome, just tweeted ALL my friends! My 4S is going to be so happy...

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  26. It's a great lens kit! Good luck

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  27. Thanks so much Jack! Hope karma is on your side.

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  28. Looks like a neat product! Would like to own one...

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  29. Looks like a good idea - would love to own one especially as I don't use the Olloclip much due to case issues.

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  30. Good luck with the drawing!

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  31. I know what you mean. I even bought the Olloclip case but it doesn't really have much to it so I prefer this SquidCam more!

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  32. You're welcome - good luck with the draw!

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  33. Awesome!! Love my squidcam lens. 👌❤️🐙

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  34. Did you want to enter the giveaway?

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  35. Oh my goodness, how I'd love to have this giveaway as I have no lenses whatsoever. Love the shots taken with it. So fantastic!!!

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  36. I think what could be awesome would be a squidcam case that is a bit more durable like my otter box with an enclosed case, but that can still attach the lenses. I use my phone to photograph my farm and share through Instagram via @furlongforestfarm. My hands are constantly muddy, dirty, and wet and so being able to take those amazing close ups with a durable squidcam case would be the best! This is my future hope for you to produce Charles! And your product is great and I know this because my sister @trumaebelle takes some really amazing pictures! ;) Great article too!

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  37. Thank you Geri for the input.


    Kev Moore, the case I've been rocking is the hybrid hard case and has held up very well so far for the last 6 months. I can still pick up the phone by grabbing the fisheye lens. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.


    -charles

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  38. I like the design of the case, but I've never used and otter box, so I can't really say. Your sister's work is beautiful - I'll have to check out your IG gallery!

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  39. Good luck Carol - someone has to win, it may just be you!

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  40. Great design! I'd like to check it out!

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  41. Very cool spotlight feature Geri. I have seen this squid cam around and was intrigued. Now that I see they are available for the iPod 5, which is my weapon of choice. I would love one of these cases. Great looking product @squidcam.

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  42. Hi Geri. Thanks for the opportunity to comment and enter this draw. I really like the 'Lego' look its modern and fun and clearly a,great building block to attach to the lens. Its an attention grabber which unlike my original Olloclip my hubs had to cut my plastic case to attach the lens. I lost the macro lense as it has to be removed for the fisheye/wide angle. Easy to do so I'd love an idea of safe keeping. Also my question would be what cost to ship to the Uk as paying the tax and shipping from USA often restricts buying products. But I really like the name. It looks squashy and fun.

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  43. Great looking, great idea. Would love to try one on my 4s!

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  44. Hi Heather - I'm checking on the UK info for you. Yes, this is certainly a great set of lenses and case. I was out last night and it was so fun to have the fisheye ready and waiting while still being able to shoot with my normal lens.

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  45. Hey Chad, Thanks for checking it out!. Good luck with the draw - you never know!

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  46. It's a fun and clever design! Good Luck!

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  47. What a great idea! I have always wanted to try other lenses for my iPhone, but I use a case and was not willing to remove it to attach the magnetic-style lenses. I would love to try this innovative approach!

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  48. I was out all day with it today and had a blast - love that the lenses are always right there on the case!

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  49. Thanks David - Good luck. I really like the lenses and the case makes it easy to always have them handy

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  50. Wow this case actually looks better and more fun than most of the ones out there. I've been dying for lens attachments ever since I got an iPhone. :)

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  51. It is fun - I used it all day yesterday and it was really fun and easy to switch lenses. Good luck!

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  52. Digging the Most_! To this day I still enjoy creating using building blocks with my grandchildren_ and ingenious design with the lenses is epic_ I use my phone daily in my art\ photograpy_ I love the idea_ on IG as @catnthehat_

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  53. I have been wanting a macro for my phone forever!! Would love to win

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  54. I could take such great jewelry shots I bet- plus wildflower pics on hikes. :) getting excited!

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  55. Would love to try these lenses. Very exciting developments!

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  56. You would have so much fun with this! Good Luck!

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  57. Yes MaryJane, it is a great tool and I love the design! Good Luck

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  58. You have as good a chance as anyone and someone has to win! Good Luck!

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  59. Of course 🙏😊 thank you.

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  60. Intriguing design concept! I would love to try out the case and lenses!

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  61. Loved the design of the cases. Hope the lens are really good. Would love to have one! ;)

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  62. I like the quality of the photos. Good luck with the draw.

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  63. Love that the lenses snap to the case!

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  64. Yes, it's a very clever design - I really like it. Good luck with the drawing.

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  65. Yes, it is! Good Luck with the draw.

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  66. I am interested in this! It would make it easier for me to snap on a lens, than what I currently use. Also, I agree with you, Geri, I would like to be able to have both lenses, attachable to the back, when not in use. Adding a Lego-styled phone/camera stand, especially if it could be angled, would be VERY cool, too! As long as I am dreaming, how about a snap on sunshade, with a hinge, which would double as a screen cover, when the device is not in use.

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  67. I like the idea of being able to snap a lens on and keep my iPhone it it's case.

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  68. This is my givaway entry! I really want one!

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  69. I like that the lens snaps onto the case! I love the idea and would love to try it... the red case is beautiful...

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  70. lOVE this idea. Great stuff

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  71. I won these squiggle Star Wars toys in an online auction but were surprised to see that they were about half an inch in size each. I would love to use squidcam to shoot them!! Thanks

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  72. So very cool! I love the concept. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

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  73. Would love to try it out on my iPod 5... would even blog about it on my photo blog - http://anntracyphotography.blogspot.com/

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  74. That would be fun. Good luck

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  75. Now you're thinking outside the box! Good luck

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  76. It's a great concept! Good luck

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  77. I have the red one and it is very sharp looking. Good luck

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  78. A great big thank you to you, Geri, for hosting this giveaway! Thank you, also, to the very creative designer, Charles Mercadee, for supplying this awesome giveaway of the amazing SquidCam! Love the way the name was thought up for this product. I'm throwing my hat in the ring to be considered for this exiting giveaway of SquidCam! My IG friend, Myrhlee, takes breathtaking macros with her SquidCam, making me pine away for taking photos like hers, with my iPhone 5S. Hopefully the stars will align, the universe will smile upon me, and I'll be happily searching for flowers, bugs, textures, etc. to photograph with my very own newly aquired SquidCam!

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  79. Well Denise you never know. I'll be doing a random draw tomorrow morning at 8:00 PDT. Good Luck!

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  80. Great - Good luck with the draw!

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  81. Thank you, Geri! I've got my fingers and toes crossed to hopefully increase my chances. 😃

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  82. Love the concept & look of the squidcam! Appears it really works as advertised! Thanks for the info

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  83. Yes, it does work! I've been using it since I got it and love it

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  84. Great idea...& it looks like it captures pictures beautifully!! Thank you so much the generous opportunity!! Blessings ~Heather❤️~

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  85. Yikes, sorry to hear that - maybe you'll get lucky

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  86. Good luck Heather! It does a really good job.

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  87. I'd love one but have I missed the random draw deadline?

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  88. Thanks for entering Dewayne - good luck!

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  89. You made the cut-off =) Good Luck!

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