- The La brothers, 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.
- They now 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’s Vietnamese restaurant in Alberta, Canada.
The brothers, who ranged in age from 13 to 18 when they began their YouTube journey, remember rushing to catch the bus back from school so they could start their shifts. She ran over and sheepishly looked at the customers who were enjoying their meals.
Now all in their 20s, Los Las told Insider that the family struggled a lot in those early years, running several “failed” 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 everything changed after middle child Kat discovered YouTube and slowly introduced others to her hobby. Now, they are the owners of the highly successful gaming channel. KREW who has grown to a loyal fan base of 9 million subscribers and has made enough money for his parents to retire.
Playing video games together became an outlet that inspired the brothers to venture into content creation.
When they were younger, the Las said they would use restaurant tip money 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.”
Kat, the middle child, the third older sister of La, was particularly interested in cameras and filming, and in 2011 she decided to launch a Youtube channel as his new hobby.
“I didn’t think much of it. The first video I uploaded was a ‘Call of Duty Black Ops II’ video, and I had no comments of any kind, because growing up, I was pretty shy and didn’t want to include my voice,” Kat said. .
Eventually, he asked his brothers to participate in his 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 opened her channel, the brothers started playing more Minecraft, a popular game that involves building structures in a 3D virtual world, and Kat started writing comedy scripts who thought the family could perform during their gaming videos.
“We thought if no one sees it, that’s fine, but it would be nice to have our little characters,” second oldest sibling Kim, 28, told Insider. But a few weeks after they started posting as KREW, Kim said, “we realized we were gaining some traction. More people started watching as we posted more videos, and eventually we got comments asking us to keep making them.” “.
The brothers carved out a niche for themselves by asking commenters to tell them what to build so they could try building it together in their next video.
“I think people really appreciate seeing our different personalities when we play together in videos. I guess we’re really good at vibing with each other,” Kat said.
Initially, Los Las continued to work in their family business, which was a bubble tea shop at the time after their parents sold the restaurant, taking breaks during filming to serve customers in the shop.
But, Kat said, “When our channel started to take off, we realized that YouTube could become a career. We were making a lot more money than the bubble tea shop could make. We had money to pay our bills, rent and groceries.” .”
The brothers are now full-time YouTubers and are able to support their parents financially. “They did a lot for us, so we’re pretty much just giving it back,” Kim said.
The brothers’ parents, who did not want to be identified for privacy reasons, told Insider they struggled financially when they owned several businesses between 2008 and 2017, but are now retired and supported by their children.
“The reason we wanted to become business owners is because we thought it would be good for our children in the future,” Los’s father said, adding, “We had no idea that our children’s hobby would become their full time work. .”
Looking back on their journey, the brothers still can’t believe how much they’ve accomplished.
The Las continue to post gaming videos on Kat’s YouTube channel, which has amassed 9 million subscribers, and to her KREW Official Channel, who has 1 million subscribers. They have also diversified their brand with a merchandise line Y mobile app.
Older sister Betty, 29, said looking at old family photos makes her reflect on how far her family has come. She recalled that she was 12 years old and felt so aware of her responsibilities that she felt like the “manager” of the restaurant. She is now the acting manager of the YouTube channel KREW, she answers emails and arranges business deals on behalf of her brothers.
“I wish she could go back and tell me, a 12-year-old girl, how crazy her life would be,” she said.
The brothers spend around eight to 10 hours on each video between filming and editing, and said they enjoy being able to work together, though minor disputes sometimes arise.
“All brothers argue. We’ve always been working together, even at the restaurant, and we argue then too, so it’s not a big deal,” said younger brother Allen, 24.
In June they attended VidCon, a convention where they were able to meet and interact with their fans, which also sparked feelings of disbelief at their own success.
“We feel speechless most of the time. We didn’t think we would end up here,” Kim said.
“Honestly, most of us thought we’d just have normal jobs or continue to support our parents’ business. None of us thought we’d be here today, but we’re very proud,” he added.
For more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital culture team coverage here.