This year at anime expo I was lucky enough to get a meeting with both Shawnee Hale the amazing twitter lead and Beth Kawasaki the director of brand management as well as Michelle Mauk the brand creative lead. Those three combined to make the core of most of Loot Crate Anime’s team. We talked shop about how loot crate gets the items they get from all of you, what might be coming next, and how Shawnee manages to tweet so many memes.
In case you don’t know, Loot Crate is a company that curates a monthy box that they send teo fans of many different fandoms, like gaming, anime and pets. Im here at Anime Expo so im mostly going to be talking about the Loot Crate Anime brand. Which Beth tells me is mostly concentrated on bringing licensed official anime merchandise to the homes of American fans all year round.
Next I asked a few questions, please forgive me as my questioning rand a bit sideways and around in circles, but I think they were mostly very good questions.
First I asked Shawnee about her tweeting, her personal twitter has just over 250,000 followers, so I asked her the secret to her success
Shwanee: I post a lot of memes, and it helps working to curate the crate. Anime that’s going to be in the crate is based on what the fans ask for, and what are people taking about organically. I try to engage the fans, and I do a lot of best girls content and other fun things. Its really all about community.
At the mention of a Theme I asked Beth how they picked the theme:
How do you pick the themes:
Beth: What we do is we have a brain trust of anime fans, people who are on our teams, and people who are not, we look at what is popular what people are talking about online, on social media, additionally we have a robust team that does a lot of data analytics Thousands of people who are our surveys, and tell us what they like about the crate, what their favorite anime and manga are, every month we will see, we see a correlation usually, we take all of that, and we see whats gone up in our surveys, and we see cordination there, and there a lot of traffic, so then we consider that for the theme.
When I asked if they pick the theme or the anime titles to use first she responded
We pick a theme and pick titles based on that theme, and its always a mix of different titles.
Along that same vein, how do you at Loot Crate handle licensing official products? Now that Cruncyroll’s partnership has ended do you have any issues getting licenses?
Beth: Licensing is licensing, we have many relationships with many companies, we ask them what we can do, what we can focus on, and getting more exclusive items for the crate or getting items that are a variant. Once we make the crates, we have all the products and goods, all ready to go.
I really liked the managa that Loot Crate Anime did when I was getting a crate some time ago, any more plans to do that?
Beth: yes we have continued to do that manga and light novels we also did a full art book in this months crate, that was a very well received crate. Its a hi-value item, and we try to deliver those.
When I hear hi value I always wonder, do you usually focus on one large item per crate?
Beth: we try to have one or two halo types items , Items tied in to a larger brand, and we always have a value that we need to hit. Its a cost to consumers of $23.95 a month for a year, we always try to get 4 -6 items in a crate, and reach the value of 60$
Now I turned back to Shwanee to ask about Twitter again, Shwanee what sort of news and things do you share on your twitter is it hard to strike a balance between professional and memes?
Shawnee: I do share news, but its about fun, being a looter is about fun, i try not to be constantly advertising, but keep discussions open, discussing outfits, like Kobayashi came out with a special that had a similar dress to another show, and I did a who did it better.
Its all for fans by fans, its for the fandom, the people really in to gaming are on gaming the anime people are on anime. we try to take that love and put it in to social media. We consider all of those things. how do we get to more fans.
Next I asked about conversions, as most of the time social media managers are concerned with those numbers, and stats.
Beth: We are not about conversions, we are about the community and making a community space, for our fandom, were both anime, not the conversion numbers. Also we don’t share that data, it has an impact for sure, but we really just want to enhance that experience
shawnee hale – This is the first company I worked where its all about community, not about conversions, and they look at my engagement with community not at the numbers. Its all about community.
Noticing my tee-turtle 0 focks given shirt Shawnee mentioned that T-turtle makes good shirts, so I replied by asking where Loot Crate gets theres.
Beth: We have a whole source of buyers and merchandisers and work with multiple vendors, like BioWorld, and other times we will go out and get the license directly, we have a lot of relationships with multiple vendors, for housewares, and figs. We license everything. We cant work with any company that doenst have licenses, so that does limit us sometimes.
Look over at the full size 1/7th figs they have on display I cant help but ask Would you ever consider a Loot Crate Anime DX
Beth: We are always discussing new things that we can put in the crate, stay tuned. No plans to make a DX line for anime, not at this time.
Finally on partnering with Banpresto for exclusive figs.
Beth: they have a lot of licenses, our Kaju crate, this month which is the big prize crate had a figure from Kotoboke, so we do have partnerships with a lot of other companies too.
Anything else I should know before we go
Shawnee: Loot anime is awesome,
Beth: we have so much cool stuff coming up
Thank you both so much for your time, and of coruse you can get your own Loot Crate Anime right here at Anime Expo, where Loot Crate is doing a build a crate with some of the best stuff from crates past, and of coruse the chance to order 3,6 and 12 months of the awesome anime crate!