John’s Crazy Socks boasts over 1,300 cool, colorful designs. (John’s Crazy Socks)
John Cronin’s message is simple, “socks, socks and more socks”, but the 21-year-old entrepreneur with Down syndrome and founder of John’s Crazy Socks’ mission is much more powerful; smashing stereotypes of what people with a disability can achieve.
“Down syndrome never holds me back,” John Cronin tells FOX Business. “I love inspiring people.”
In 2016, John was finishing high school and, like other young men, was facing a big decision of what to do next.
“He started talking to me about going in to business,” Mark X. Cronin, John’s Dad, co-founder and president of John’s Crazy Socks, tells FOX Business.
John came to his dad with some interesting ideas, including a “fun store” — they are still trying to figure that one out — and a food truck.
“I had a problem, my dad and I, both of us can’t cook!” jokes John Cronin.
Eventually, John’s love for colorful sock flair became an inspiration, and in December 2016, John’s Crazy Socks, an online one-stop sock shop, opened for business. From food-inspired knee highs to canine crew socks, John’s Crazy Sock’s now boasts over 1,300 pairs of fun, funky socks. Since opening, business has been booming.
“We are on a mission to spread happiness, and we are spreading that message through socks,” says Mark X. Cronin.
Each order is shipped out the same day which includes John’s story, often a hand written note by John, some candy and two discount cards – “one for you and one to give to a friend.”
Like any startup, John’s Crazy Socks ran into its fair share of challenges. Initially, manufacturers refused to do business with a startup that had no track record.
“I think there was an assumption on many that this was a quaint, little business, you were doing part time and on the side. When they find out, in our first year, we are going to do $1.2 to $1.3 million dollars, that makes people sit up,” says Mark X. Cronin. “Which I would suggest is pretty good for a startup.”
The nine-month old company has been recognized by local organizations, John and Mark recently completed the prestigious business accelerator MassChallenge, and have shipped socks to former president George H.W. Bush, comedian Kevin James and Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt.
More than profit, John and Mark are dedicated to giving back. 5% of their sales go to charity, like the National Down syndrome Society, and they carry specialty socks for causes like Autism Awareness. In addition, John and Mark’s staff include employees who have a disability.