A Conversation with Loot Crate: Curating House Pride

For anyone who’s ever received a Loot Crate, it probably comes as no surprise that these boxes are carefully thought out. MuggleNet paid a visit to the Loot Crate headquarters in October and got a sneak peak of the curation process for the wizarding world boxes. With the upcoming March “House Pride” crate set to be the first box to include House-specific items, we wanted to ask the Loot Crate curator, Helena Mills, what the process was like for Crate 3.

 

When we were out visiting you guys in October, you talked about the overarching theme and storyline of the crates. We’re three crates in now. So how does this crate fit within that story arc?

When you visited us last time, we talked about how personal moments, friendship, and community are very prominent thematically in these stories. Interestingly, it’s often how fans relate to the stories as well — on a personal level, with friends, and within the larger fan community. We strive to create themes that reflect these scopes, intimate to broad. At this point in the arc, we wanted to emphasize community. In the [w]izarding [w]orld, Hogwarts Houses definitely represent community!

This is the first crate with House-specific items. How did you decide what item to customize for the Houses?

We knew right away we needed items that would be both wearable and functional, two things that make it easy for folks to show their [H]ouse pride!

Can you talk us through the curation process? Where do you even start on a project like this? With so many things you could include, how do you go about narrowing it down?

We start by going back to the source, using inspiration from key moments in the stories we know are meaningful to fans. Then we think about products we love and products that have been really popular with our Looters. Their feedback is so important to how we curate what makes it into our crates.

Then we begin assembling potential assortments, evaluating the story the items tell together. To keep ourselves in check, we share these potential assortments with internal fans [who] aren’t involved in the day-to-day to garner unfiltered reactions and feedback. We know we have a winner when there are “squees” all around!

What is it like seeing those initial thoughts and ideas shouted out around the conference room table become real items that get shipped in a crate?

Awesome, in the truest sense of the word. I also get the crate delivered to my door, and no matter how many product mock-ups or samples I see, that unboxing moment is just as magical for me. And that feeling grows when Looters post their love for the items.

Seeing what our Looters react to is one of the most exciting parts, especially when a fan posts exactly how we felt about something during the development process like the “I want to be a [w]izard” art from the inside of the first box. Because who doesn’t want to be a [w]izard?!

What are some of the challenges you may face along the way to make these ideas work?

Definitely the editing portion of the curation process! With so much content to work with and so much more coming, there are endless product possibilities. As challenges go, this is a great one to have.

When we last spoke back in October, it was only a few days before the big J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Crate announcement and you were still tweaking a lot of the ideas for the crates. How close to each crate’s release are you still making changes?

The first crate is always the most challenging! We typically like to have the curation for each crate completed at least six months out.

You guys are constantly going through this process for other crates, but what stands out about the experience of working on the Wizarding World crates?

Without hesitation, I can tell you it’s the fans. They are some of the most passionate, devoted and enthusiastic fans out there. And that is what makes our job so much fun!

 

If you want to find out more about the work that goes into the Wizarding World crate, check out the video below from our trip to Loot Crate headquarters.

 

Amy Hogan

I was 9 years old when I discovered the magic that is “Harry Potter.” I am a proud Hufflepuff and exceedingly good at eating, reading, being sarcastic, and over-thinking small tasks. Since I spent too much time worrying about the correct way to write this bio, this is all I was able to come up with before the deadline.

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