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Old 01-30-06, 01:44 PM   #1
caricatureguy
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Lurk looking for advice

I have some questions about personal managers and agent stuff for you heavy hitters out there who are represented by someone other than just yourselves. This seems to be something that would benefit me as well. Work SMARTER instead of harder, right?

I've worked with local agents and such, I'm pretty well known locally. There's just not much local business and busking is, frankly, becoming a chronic pain in the ass. So I've hit the wall- What I'd like to do is to get some gigs (especially corporate gigs) nationally/internationally. I'd really like to travel and get paid to do so like some of you do. What I'm working on right now is using some of the agent/booking resources in the library area and compiling a mailing database to send off promo material to the four corners of the universe. This is a pretty ambitious undertaking for me. What I'd really like to know is what I should realistically expect from this effort? Is this common? Has/does/would anybody else do this? Also, I'm aware that agents are not the most trustworthy folks in the world. Am I just asking to get ripped off this way?

I'm also looking for ideas that would help me define a market for myself: There are caricature artists all over the country who could be hired just as easily. What can I tweak in my performance that would make an agent want to fly me in to do a job over hiring a local person to do a gig? For instance, Pablo does a cool stage show with a message for kids and stuff as his schtick which strongly defines his considerable market with schools. Not many guys do that. It's unique. That's worth a flight! My uniqueness is my speed. I do strolling caricatures in between 15-60 seconds. Although I do 3-10(+!) times as many caricatures per hour as most artists are capable of, I currently can only charge about the same amount as the local artists do. Although I have reached the goal I set for myself speed-wise, and I do have the favor of some agents, I have hit a wall in the money department. It's not getting me much more work and is actually a disadvantage for me financially as I draw more people in less billable hours. Any ideas on how I can turn this into the asset it should be financially? How can I make this a more marketable advantage for me and make me worth a flight? I'm open to suggestions!

My plan as of right now, is to just flatly mail out all of my info to corporate agents, national and international agents, cruise lines, venues, and such and hope they call me when they have the kind of work that would be appropriate for me. (I'm sharing this info with my cousin who is a musician, so my personal target group remains broader than it really needs to be. What's a few more stamps? Perhaps if the agent doesn't represent caricature artists, maybe their performers could use a sweet caricature to enhance their visual promotions). However, when it comes to personal management, I'm pretty confused. Wouldn't I want a personal manager to be sending me their information if they want to represent me? It seems to me that they would want my business as someone they could represent. How does this work?
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Old 01-30-06, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default quikie

For your viewing pleasure, here is a short film with me doing a caricature this past weekend.

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2692748
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Old 01-30-06, 03:06 PM   #3
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Default Thanks, Adam...

for your flattering review of my show. Have you seen it, or are you just quoting reviews from my website?

If you really want to work with national agents & travel, you are going to have to spend money. Lots and lots of money. I'm talking about thousands of dollars per year, and the more gigs you get, the more expenses you'll have.

Where do you start? First of all, decide on the best marketable gimmick that will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you want to be "The Fastest Artist on Earth", check out your competition:

www.tomhuf.com

www.big-smile.com/artists.html

I've met Tom and Jodie, and they are both very talented, very smart and very fast. Jodie is also a gorgeous redhead, so she's got talent, brains, speed and looks.

But don't despair. Here are four reliable places to find clients or agents:

www.caricature.org

www.the-nose.com

www.partypop.com

www.naca.org
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Old 01-30-06, 04:29 PM   #4
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Hey Pablo, I'm actually surprised you commented! I have not seen your show though I would like to very much. I have done a little research however on what you do and have read reviews. I think I have a pretty good grasp of what you do. BTW, you're welcome for the compliment. I think what you do is really neat and you have carved an effective niche for yourself.

I am familiar with Huf and Jody. Jody actually is pretty close to my market, being in Sandusky. I have no idea how she charges so much but apparently she could talk Eskimos into refrigerators from what I hear. My speed is way faster than either one. Lots of people boast that they are the fastest... Last I heard, the current fastest caricaturist at the NCN Conventions speed contest last year did 14 of them in 5 minutes. I heard he did them on index cards, so I'm not too worried. I do mine on 8.5x11 and if no bodies or signature, I can do them that fast as is and get a likeness too. His were just as sloppy as you would expect from what I hear.

There is a guy who does profiles in Germany, (I don't do them but from what I understand, they are easier to draw than front views) who currently holds the Guinness record. 7.5 seconds. Like I said, that is a profile. I'd like to go for a Guinness Record for head ons. I think that would be a key to marketing myself is legitimate boasting rights and media attention to back it up as well.

Right now I'm trying to organize a fundraiser where I can raise money and gain exposure for myself by seeing how many I can draw in a 24 hour period and hopefully knock out the speed record at the same time. I suppose I'll have to record the whole thing so I will have record of it as well. I want to make a big noise when I do this with lots of media attention. I am hoping for national exposure in all this. The date I'm hoping for is late September, 06.

I am in contact with Tad and Mike occasionally. I'm a new member of the NCN and they're a friendly group. The con isn't till October this year so I have a while to wait till I can compete for the fastest artist officially with the other artists. I'm on Party Pop and would like to check out NACA because I've heard it discussed here and it sounds like a good idea.

Thanks for the advise and by the way, the last thing I would want to do is compete with your business Pablo. I don't want to choose the exact same venues or agents as you. But I hope you don't mind me using your success as a model. I need to find a marketable segway given my particular talent into a particular market like you have with the schools. I don't know if being fast is marketable enough to warrant an agent flying me to (hypothetically) California for a gig. Perhaps if I had more of a performance of some kind... I don't know. Like I said, you do the big faces, I can do that but it's your thing, (and I'm sure you do it much better than I could anyways!), how can I make a show of doing them really fast? I need to find a way I can I appeal to a broader market than just trade shows and bar-mitzvahs! I know that foreign people love American entertainers, maybe that is one way. This is the kind of advise I am hoping for, if anyone cares to share their ideas.

What are you referring to when you say I'll have to spend money? I know that this mailing is going to cost me! What else is there? I'm certainly open to suggestions. I know you gotta spend money to earn money and I'm not afraid to succeed so hit me with it!
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Old 01-30-06, 07:53 PM   #5
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Default How to Spend Money

Okay, Adam, you asked for it...

1. Get a professionally designed website. Get a professionally designed video, dvd, brochure, business card, poster and press photos.

2. Advertise nationally on Partypop.com.

3. Join NACA. Attend all the regional conferences and the national conference. Get a booth at the conference marketplaces. Hand out t-shirts, stickers, magnets, buttons and pens that say "World's Fastest Caricature Artist" with your name & contact info. Advertise every month in the magazine.

4. Attend the NCN convention in October. Announce to every artist there that you are the World's Fastest Caricature Artist, and that you're ready to prove it right then & there.

All I can say is: You better be fast.
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Old 01-30-06, 11:01 PM   #6
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World's Fastest Caricature Artist

Sounds like SideShow! Set up your own contest, beat the clock, take bets!
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Old 01-31-06, 12:09 PM   #7
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That's an awesome idea! That's kind of what I had in mind with the fundraiser (make a charitable bet on how many I can do, etc...) thing but way better! I like to have people time me while I draw their friends. I usually amaze everyone and I then know how long it took me too. I have gotten much applause when in the right environment so that's definitely one way to "perform" to an audience. Thanks! I'm so happy to have your perspective and a new twist on this idea!

Pablo, thanks for the advise. How has Party Pop worked for you? I have gotten one call from it since joining (free) I'm not really impressed thus far. Does a paid membership get you that much more business? I'll have to research Naca. I thought you needed an agent for that... As far as my promotional materials, you hit the nail clean on the head. I need to get my shit together, pronto as far as web site and video. The video I posted is the first attempt. I think to have one professionally done would be well worth it. I have some really nice business cards now with some of my paintings on them, but I have a more caricature centric design that I plan to have printed before I send these suckers out. Have you ever tried this direct mail thing? It's been my most successful method of advertisement so far. I do lots of proms and stuff because I mail directly to area high schools.

Press photos and bumper stickers? Really? That works?! I'm astounded! I couldn't imagine somebody putting a poster of me on their wall! Cool idea though, I'll have to look into it. Being a graphic artist and all, I can save a lot of money by doing a lot of the promotional stuff myself. My sister in law is a photographer too. I need to get a good website. Never, never, never ask a friend to do a website for you... Thanks again.

I'm really interested in a theatrical performer's take on this topic. An objective point of view is very welcome!
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Old 01-31-06, 02:48 PM   #8
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Seems to me that you need a way to get paid *by the drawing*. Have you thought of trying out packages where you offer the promoter some sort of "one picture of every guest for this one outrageous price" thing? I have no idea if that would work, but seems like it would be worth a shot for corporate gigs. Your speed could be used to make you someone who can roam from table to table and cover every guest in a reasonable amount of time.

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Old 01-31-06, 04:58 PM   #9
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Default package price and challenge incentive

if i cant caricature you (or you and your group) in such and such a time it's free/half/10 percent off.

group caricatures: your whole family in one panel, in under 3 minutes

one panel of the whole group along with solos of each individual


do a series of the same person. one of you for this much, 5 of you for this much.
(or make it an action series by asking them for a hobby, favorite sport etc)

offer 1 big panel and 4 'wallet sized' package deal.

pets



hth
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Old 02-07-06, 12:43 AM   #10
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Good ideas all!!! I think the "or it's FREE" schtick would probably backfire some how though! I LOVE the big timer idea. I'm trying to locate one. Even if I never have a chance to use it professionally, who doesn't want a huge-second-hand-time-clock?! My wife would laugh if I put it above our bed

I appreciate the responses. I know that most of you are very theatrical (sadly, I'm not... ) and creative. You are such a great group of people to pose this question to!

I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for how to approach (or how NOT to approach! ) agents and personal managers. As of now, I'm planning on blindly sending out like 1500+ letters to various agents and managers world wide. I'm sick when I think of the possibilities, good and bad. Something I feel that I gotta do though. I'm particularly worried and tingly about the non-english speaking countries and their reception of an english promo from an American. I've heard that American entertainers are very well received in foreign countries but some insight would not only be helpful but IMMENSELY interesting to me! Any thoughts?
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Old 02-07-06, 05:58 PM   #11
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Try looking for a photographer's darkroom timer. About a foot square, with big, readable numbers. Probably pretty easy to find an old one with everyone going to digital pics.
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Old 02-08-06, 07:38 AM   #12
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Default That's awesome

Good idea! I hadn't thought of that! Thanks!
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Old 02-08-06, 03:56 PM   #13
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Try two test groups: one, 1450 people you mail to blindly, and one, 50 people you call first, tell who you are, mention the speed thing as your hook, and ask, would they be interested in getting a kit, and then, re-call ten days later "just checking" to make sure they got your CD, and "did you have time to look it over?"

Tell us after which group gets you more work. (Sometimes people prefer to do business with someone they know a little, even only a cold call's worth.)

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-06, 04:09 PM   #14
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That's not a bad idea either, Mr. Taxi Trix. I think that either way, it woud be a good idea to call some of the people after sending the info whether I called first or not.

I hate the idea of cold calling because I think that something simple they can look at will say everything within a couple of minutes whereas a conversation tends to get off track and misleading at times. Whenever I can I prefer to meet with people in person. That way it's harder for them to give the brushoff without actually listnening to you. Most of the time...

The reason I chose to mail these, (most of them anyways, besides 50 or so, if I use your idea) is that even if 99 people aren't interested, the 100th might be and that 100th person might be the one in a million contact I've been looking for. Out of 3000 or so letters I will probably be sending out, (I;m including local places too as well as straight advertising promos to restaraunts, bars, clubs and such too) if I got 300 people interested in what I do, and at least 30 good contacts, I would be amazed! Those are pretty good odds. I will try the cold call thing with some of the more obvious places and hopefully this will work out really well. I'll let y'all know.
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Old 02-08-06, 06:46 PM   #15
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Default postcards

I don't have a lot of daytime hours for phone calls, so I send out thousands of postcards. I can stick stamps and soforth in the evening. In my case it is not unusual for folks to respond on the 4th or 8th postcard, check their budget, then finaly hire me/us two or three years later. Persistance, persistance, persistance.

It is a marathon, not a 5K.

When they respond to the postcard either by phone or email, I'll send out a DVD and promo packet. Nothing fancy. Lots of photos and testimonials.

My postcards are part illustration, part text. Some humour, some boring features, no benefits. That is deliberate. I want them to go to my website before they call me. I don't want to "sell" them, I want them to sell themselves on the idea. Business, profits, referals, and repeat business is growing. Must be doing something right!
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Old 02-08-06, 07:38 PM   #16
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I don't think that speed is your best selling point to corporations. It may be for festivals, parties and stuff but words like "staff morale" will work much better with the corp.s

Make a set of promos specifically for them understanding that they like to get something for their money. Emphasise the benefits to their workplace and personnel by bringing a little wit and satire for a couple of days. Target companies with large staffs, identify the personell/human resources manager and/or the appropriate Board member (often on their website) and direct your material to them by name.

The late genious Campbell McComas made a fortune ($25,000 a pop) going into large workplaces for a couple of weeks as a supposed efficiency officer disguise and all. He would then deliver a scathing dryly hysterical speech at the annual company dinner. Efficiency and morale always showed dramatic improvement after.

What you have to offer may not be as dramatic but I think it's significant enough to earn you very good money. What you do is quiet, not disruptive and can engage the whole office regardless of size.

I would suggest you charge by the day ($1000?) and forget the speed thing until the very end (you can pretend you're running behind schedule then use it as a finale, Ta Daaa). If you start slowly at the bottom of the office and get your subjects chatting a bit you'll pick up good tips about the characters as you work up the chain of command. Concentrate on quality not quantity and take your time. I'd unveil them all at once at the end.

The company may even enjoy putting some in its newsletter/magazine/annual report which will get you more work.

With corporate work, novelty is not enough, it's about what you have that will benefit them. By all means, use the speed bit, but as the novelty it is. Make the pictures themselves the crux of the performance.

"The more I charged them , the more valuable I became to them" Campbell McComas (dec. 2005).
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Old 02-08-06, 11:45 PM   #17
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Default WOW!

That's genius! I do have a bunch of local fortune 500 companies on my list of businesses to solicit with promo material. I'm a member of the local (business oriented) chamber of commerce sort of thing with a lot of local heavy hitters like Tupperware, ford, GM, Kiaser, the Cleveland Clinic, etc... That would be a GREAT strategy! Thanks!!!

Postcards are a great idea too. I was planning on mailing the stuff in regular envelopes. I don't have as much to gain by a DVD as most of you (to my way of thinking anyways) Nor do I have the resources to make thousands of them, let alone mail them so I plan on having a couple of videos and stuff like that that can't be mailed, on a website that can be accessed anytime.

I thought it might be cool gimmick to have the potential client go to the website and punch in a number on the intro page as a sort of registration process. This way I know who's checking me out and I have all the pertinent info on them, not to mention it would seem more professional and have that aire of importance that everybody likes...If they are a member of this business organization I'm part of, they will see that they will get a discount on my services too. I suppose that would work particularly well with a postcard too. I am pretty confused about the bulk mail thing though. I suppose it would be worth looking into! Right now I'm figuring that this is going to cost at least a thousand right off the bat.
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Old 02-09-06, 12:22 AM   #18
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My pleasure.

If you start with the office boy and work your way up, you should be able to identify all the office stereotypes as you go. If you make a list of the standards, the romeo, water-cooler slug, ditherer, bully, mouse, man-killer, buck-passer, joker et al, they will all be there.

Clever symbolism and a great sense of humour can make a big difference by creating awareness and change. (Use that line in your promo).

Forget fancy bullshit on your website. Get a good simple one up asap. From "Chalk Circle's" experience, postcards are not of great value. Heidelberg Press once produced 10,000's for us at a major event and they nearly all disappeared but I don't think one actually generated work for us.
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Old 02-09-06, 08:45 AM   #19
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<I thought it might be cool gimmick to have the potential client go to the website and punch in a number on the intro page as a sort of registration process.>


You will kill the responce rate if you do this.

Since you are a member of the C of C, go to their mixers and start drawing. Use preprinted stock with your name and contact info in the corner, and draw everybody in sight. On the back of the sheet, have a list of ideas printed on how you can entertain at their various functions, trade shows, employee picnics, holiday parties, product launch, charity events, etc.

At each event, pick a different performance style: Swami in a trance, super fast, super funny, slow and engaging, etc. Do this to demonstrate your people skills, creative energy, and good judgement.


For Valentine's draw all the couple's in the room. For office assistant day, put them on a throne. For Presidents day, wave the flag, for Easter, draw an Easter Basket with the company logo or product.

NUMBER AND DATE each caracture. Create a collectable series. You could do this for the event, the holiday or season.

But DO IT!
The "Metro C of C mixer " halloween
collecter series, the Holiday series, etc. And of course make this meaningful by
using the theme of the series in each of
those drawings.

Set up a deal with a framing shop. Print
their name with a small discount on the back of your sheet. Because your art is so special they will want to FRAME it and hang it on their trophy wall. Get the framing shop to pay for all your printing.

When you are at the mixer, ask each person who their agency is. At this level they are working through an event planning agency and a ad / pr agency. Add these agencies to your mailing list.

Lightly costume yourself for the season, Valentines, President's Day, Easter, office assistant day etc. Get a copy of Chase's calander of events to learn the holidays for every day of the year.

A costume hat, tie, and/or vest over business causual is sufficiant. Won't cost much and you will make a tremendous impact.
Remember to COLLECT at least as many
business cards as you give out.

Every card you collect goes into your data base for future mailings.

At this point, you are your own trade show, you just hapen to be at a Cof C event. Now go to whoever is in charge of a particular company's trade show booth, and offer to do the same for them at their next event. All of THEIR contact info goes on the back of the drawing. You draw EVERYBODY who visits their booth, no matter how briefly.
BECAUSE you are so fast, you can create an emotional impact in the blink of an eye, a emotional contact between the potential client and their business.

You could even do this by attending a trade show that is open to the public. Lots of Home and garden, PET shows! and sports shows this time of year. Pay the $10 to get in, and stroll the aisles, drawing all the venders in sight. Collect their cards, find out who the marketing director is,
etc. And of course your drawing of them
has your pitch on the back.

I think ANY gathering of people would be an opportunity for this tactic. Grand openings, associations, clubs, sports teams, (kid and adult) even church events.

And if you Start do NOT quit!!! Make EVERY C of C mixer.

Cheers!
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Old 02-09-06, 10:50 AM   #20
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Default WOW!

Stretch, there are a lot of GREAT ideas there! Some of them I do already others I have been contemplating but definitely some NEW ideas too. I tried dressing up before, I got fucked with most of the time, so I don't do it anymore. If you go into a bar with a santa hat on, you will leave with a cold head!

I've been thinking of going to the local exposition center during the home show and drawing the vendors there. I do worry about just going to it there though, especially when they are busy. I think I might go early tomorrow morning. It is on my list of things to do this week regardless. To look into it. There is a clown who has rented a booth there this week. I guess he is looking for entertainers to share the (cost of) the booth with him. While I think it might pay off in the long run, my goal is to advertise to the exhibitors themselves. I'll let you all know how it goes. And of course I have my info on the paper. It gets expensive but people don't lose them like they lose cards. I tried to get beer companies to sponsor me and pay for paper with their logo on the back but nobody went for it. I did get 500 sharpies for free though to advertise for them! Second biggest expense, taken care of right there!

I agree with you about the registration thing. I have a tendency to try too hard sometimes... I guess that's why I'm looking for advise. TACTFUL advice! I read a thing about how to write a GOOD advertisement. They say to stress words like YOU and GOOD and make it PERSONAL and make lots of GIMMICKS and BE CREATIVE! I think sometimes that the client would view this as annoying however and I am still not sure if it is beneficial to the advertisement. I've gotten more business but I can't say that that is the reason why...

Again, Peter, the advice about the office workers is sheer brilliance! I love the idea of having your stereotypical office workers. Obviously everything is easier once you have a sort of format you can use as a starting point. That would solidify the idea and make it more interesting when the stereotypes were "challenged and engaged".

I can't see how if somebody would go through the trouble of sticking a DVD into the computer to view it, why they wouldn't just check out a website with a video on it. Can you? This is why I thought that the postcards might be useful. I can't stick pens with my name on them or business cards into a postcard though.

I would like to have some way to passively interact with potential clients on the website. In a tactful way of course. Not for further advertisements but for marketing purposes. So I know what demographic has showed the most interest. Who specifically responded and why. I'd like to have one of those CREATIVE GIMMICKS to make it fun too. I'll have to give it some more thought. I thought at one time about having people submit a photograph and I'd draw them and send it back but that seems not only time consuming but stupid considering they are more likely bitch about how it couldn't possibly be free since they SHOULD expect to pay for it anyways... Free things always make people suspicious. Hmmmmm, there must be something else...

Give aways are a neat idea but have their draw backs... Maybe a T-shirt giveaway, but who wants a t shirt with me on it?! My friend has a puzzle on his site but it takes forever to load and to be honest, it's pretty dumb... Maybe just a friendly guest-book type thing to be included in future discounts or something would work. At least I would know who was there...
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