A father and his son with a down syndrome disability have teamed up, and have grown their year-and-a-half-old sock business into a US$4-million empire called John’s Crazy Socks, all based on a simple mission statement: to “spread happiness.”
Twenty-two-year-old John Cronin, who has a disability -Down syndrome, was graduating from high school and trying to figure out his next steps in life when he decided he wanted to go into business with his dad, Mark Cronin. I want to go be with my dad because I love my dad very much. I want to go do something fun,” John said at their Huntington, N.Y., office and warehouse.
Mark and John brainstormed on ideas, like a “fun store” or a food truck, but neither of them could cook. They decided on selling socks because John was always on the hunt for funky, cool socks.“John had worn crazy socks his whole life. That was his thing,” Mark said.“Why socks? Because it’s fun, it’s colorful, I like to be creative and I want to see wonderful things here. It lets me be me,” John said.
The two launched John’s Crazy Socks on Dec. 9, 2016.Even though John has Down syndrome, “Down syndrome never holds me back,” John says, with his fist in the air like a flying superhero. John even designed the company’s Down Syndrome Super Hero Socks, with a portion of its sales going to charity.
John is the face of the company and puts sock orders together, while his father takes care of its business side.“We’ve been able to create 35 jobs — 18 of those are held by people with differing abilities. We’ve raised over US$135,000 for our charity partners,” Mark explained.“Our customers are happy.We have over 10,000 online reviews — 96 per cent of those are five-star reviews — and we’ve done a lot of work, a lot of business. We’ve shipped over 115,000 orders and earned over US$4 million in revenue.”
Through their website, a video that went viral on The Mighty’s Facebook page and a friendship between John and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, John’s Crazy Socks has grown its inventory to more than 1,900 pairs of socks for sale from socks designed by John and various vendors around the world.