How KREW rose to fame with Minecraft YouTube videos
- The La siblings, originally from Alberta, Canada, grew up helping their parents run a Vietnamese restaurant.
- They started making YouTube videos playing Minecraft as a hobby when they got home from work.
- Now they have 9 million subscribers and have been able to help their parents retire.
Before becoming YouTube stars, Betty, Kim, Kat, Wenny and Allen La spent much of their childhood helping their parents run the family Vietnamese restaurant in Alberta, Canada.
The siblings, who were around 13 to 18 when they started their YouTube journey, recall rushing to get the school bus so they could start their shifts, older siblings helping grill food and bus tables while the youngest mostly ran around and glanced shyly at patrons enjoying their meal.
Now all in their 20s, the Las told Insider the family struggled a lot in those early years, running several “bankrupt” businesses one at a time to support themselves.
“It was stressful juggling school and work, especially when we didn’t have enough money to pay the bills,” said Wenny, 25, the second youngest.
But that all changed after middle child Kat discovered YouTube and gradually introduced others to her hobby. Now they are the owners of the hit gaming channel KREW, which has grown into a loyal fanbase of 9 million subscribers and earned enough money for their parents to retire.
Playing video games together became an escape that inspired the siblings to get into content creation
When they were younger, the Las said they would use their tip from the restaurant and pool their allowances to buy video games, which they played together as an “escape from reality.”
Kids would stay up for hours playing games like “Mario Bros.”, “Smash Bros,” and the racing game “Kirby Air Ride.”
Middle child Kat, La’s third oldest brother, was particularly interested in cameras and filming, and in 2011 decided to start a YouTube channel as a new hobby.
“I didn’t give it much thought. The first video I uploaded was a ‘Call of Duty Black Ops II’ video, and it had no commentary, because growing up I was quite shy and didn’t didn’t want to include my voice,” Kat said.
Eventually, she asked her siblings to participate in her videos so they could share the hobby together.
They became popular in the Minecraft community and changed their nickname to KREW
Two years after Kat started her channel, the siblings started playing more Minecraft, a popular game that involves building structures in a 3D virtual world, and Kat began writing comic scripts that she thought the family could play during their game videos.
“We thought if no one was watching it would be nice, but it would be nice to have our little characters there,” second oldest brother Kim, 28, told Insider. But a few weeks after we started posting as KREW, Kim said, “we noticed we were getting some traction. More people started watching as we were posting more videos, and eventually we got some comments asking us to keep making them.”
The siblings have created a niche by asking commenters to tell them what to build so they can try building it together in their next video.
“I think people really enjoy seeing our different personalities when we perform together in videos. I guess we’re really good at vibing with each other,” Kat said.
Initially, the Las continued to work in their family business, which at this point was a bubble tea shop after their parents sold the restaurant, taking breaks during filming to serve shop customers.
But, Kat said, “When our channel started to take off, we realized that YouTube could become a career. We were making way more money than the bubble tea shop could be making. We had money to pay our bills, rent and groceries.
The siblings are now full-time YouTubers and are able to support their parents financially. “They did a lot for us, so we’re pretty much paying it back,” Kim said.
The siblings’ parents, who did not want to be named for privacy reasons, told Insider they struggled financially when they owned multiple businesses between 2008 and 2017, but are now on the run. retirement and supported by their children.
“The reason we wanted to become business owners is because we thought it would be good for our kids in the future,” Las’ father said, adding, “We had no idea that our children’s hobby would become their full-time job.”
Looking back on their journey, the siblings still can’t believe how much they’ve accomplished
The Las continue to post gaming videos on Kat’s YouTube channel, which has 9 million subscribers, and on their official KREW channel, which has 1 million subscribers. They also diversified their brand with a line of merchandise and a mobile app.
Older sister Betty, 29, said browsing through old family photos made her reflect on how far her family has come. She remembers being 12 years old and feeling so above her responsibilities that she felt like the “manager” of the restaurant. She is now the acting director of YouTube channel KREW, answering emails and arranging business deals on behalf of her siblings.
“I wish I could go back and tell my 12-year-old daughter how crazy her life would be,” she said.
The siblings spend about eight to 10 hours on each video between filming and editing, and they said they love being able to work together, even though there are sometimes small disputes that come with it.
“All the siblings argue. We’ve always worked together, even in the restaurant, and we also argued back then, so it’s not that bad,” said youngest brother Allen, 24. .
In June, they attended VidCon, a convention where they got to meet and interact with their fans, which also sparked feelings of disbelief at their own success.
“We feel a little speechless most of the time. We didn’t think we would end up here,” Kim said.
“Most of us honestly thought we’d just have normal jobs or continue to do our parents’ business. None of us thought we’d be here today, but we’re really proud,” she added.
For more stories like this, check out Insider’s Digital Culture team coverage here.