Last month, gaming and comedy creators KREW announced their expanded partnership with influencer merchandising firm Warren James for a new collection of streetwear clothing, accessories, and plush toys. This follows the 2020 development of KREW District, a lifestyle brand which touts unique apparel for KREW fans.
KREW is a family of five siblings—Kat La (ItsFunneh), Betty La (PaintingRainbows), Kim La (GoldenGlare), Wenny La (@LunarEclipse), and Allen La (@DraconiteDragon)—known for playing Minecraft and Roblox games. They have amassed over 13.7 million subscribers across their various YouTube channels for gameplay, live streaming, and vlogging. They also recently hit a milestone from a mobile game they released, named KREW EATS, which they say received over 2 million downloads.
KREW has worked with Warren James on multiple clothing, accessory, and plush collection releases. Warren James is known for helping well-known creators—including Aphmau, Annoying Orange, and Hasan Piker—establish customized apparel lines to align with each creator’s stylistic preferences. According to a press release, KREW will now also be taking an equity stake in Warren James.
Kevin Ramsey, co-founder and CEO of Warren James, told Passionfruit what he looks for in potential partners like KREW.
“The primary metrics Warren James looks at for selecting a creator to work with is the size and engagement of their community. KREW is a perfect example of a highly engaged community, sustained viewership, and massive audience,” Ramsey said.
He also explained what launching a merchandise collection can do for a creator’s career.
“When a creator launches a successful merchandise line, it further diversifies their revenue streams outside of ad and brand deals, it provides organic marketing with fans wearing the product in public, and most importantly it increases the community engagement and lifetime value,” Ramsey described.
We spoke with the members of KREW about their careers, diving into what it’s like working as a group, managing audience growth, venturing into a lifestyle brand, choosing Warren James as a launch partner, and more.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
To start off, would any of you like to describe the history of your content creation careers. How do you think your online presence evolved over time?
Betty: I would describe us as a dynamic group of siblings. There’s five of us, and we like to create gaming videos. Mostly Minecraft and Roblox, and some other games. And then we also really like to make lifestyle content as well on YouTube. It’s just kind of seeing our channel evolve from just Minecraft stories to now a multi-gaming channel. Our fans also like our lifestyle content too, so it’s really awesome.
How did you handle the growth in your audience over time?
Kim: As our audience grew bigger and bigger, we were in shock, because we couldn’t believe this is actually happening in our lives. But it really pushed us to keep going and make more content, more partnerships and opportunities, as our audience grew.
Kat: I think it helped a lot because our fans always interact with us a lot on social media and leave comments saying, oh we really love you guys, keep posting, your content makes our day. It kind of just drives us to keep going.
Betty: On the video side of content creation, it’s still all us, because we love what we do… We’re a family, there’s five of us, so we delegate our jobs.
At what point did you all realize content creation could be your full-time job? When did you first consider working with other brands or launching your own lines of merchandise?
Kat: The first time we were like, wow, we can take this as our full-time job was when we were making enough money to pay all our bills and we had extra money left over. As the fanbase kept growing, they wanted more from us. They were like, ‘What is another way to support you besides just, you know, liking your videos and subscribing?’ We really got into the merch game, but we wanted our merch to be different from regular content creator merch. We’re really into fashion so we wanted to design really cool streetwear.
How did you land on the designs for your latest collection?
Kat: We work with Warren James for our merch, so we kind of give them ideas of, ‘This is our dream collection, this is what we’d love to see.’ And then they come back to us with designs, and all of us work together to play around with it and get the final product.
Wenny: And then, the KREW teddies are based off our personalities. So, they all told me what animals they wanted and I just made the teddies based on their personalities and their color schemes.
How did you decide to work with Warren James, and how did you know they’d be a good fit for you?
Betty: We were talking to a lot of different [merch partners] and to us Warren James stood out because of the quality of product they were making. And also, they just were very well-informed. We’re very, I guess, picky. We want good quality, good shipping for our fans. We ask for it all, and they were the ones that were like, ‘Yes, we can do that for your fans.’
Wenny: We definitely went with them because of their quality. And, their shipping charges were more reasonable than the other merch companies we’ve seen charge. But also like, talking to them they really were passionate and had the same drive as what we wanted.
Why are you choosing to focus on a lifestyle brand, as opposed to other options, like further expanding into gaming products?
Betty: We’re just really passionate about fashion! All of us love clothes, so we just wanted to push towards creating a brand that is for everyone, and is cute and fashionable to wear to any occasion.
Kim: [It’s] kind of like a cool time capsule thing. [You’ll] see fans wear our first-made color block collection, which was way back when we first started…It’s really cool seeing them wear these different generations of outfits.
What did you learn from merch and product launches you’ve done in the past?
Allen: I think for sure if we don’t love what we create, whether it’s merch or a mobile app game, if we don’t love it our fans usually aren’t as responsive to it…That’s why we’re so hands-on and look for partners that listen to feedback.
What are some of your current goals for KREW District? What about your careers in general?
Betty: I want us to venture out into other products. That would be the ultimate goal.
Kat: I would be interested in creating even more games on the mobile end, because we all love gaming.
Allen: Just since we are creators, I think our only goal is just to create. Whatever we create, we’re usually really passionate and happy about. As long as we get opportunities to create, that’s really the end goal.