Article by Joanna Buoniconti, Staff Writer
Would you pursue your dreams if you were not afraid of failure? Wouldn’t
everyone? And would the world be better off if we did? Everyone has a dream
buried deep inside their soul. But the conquering of fears, is what separates the
dreamers from people who are successful while doing what they love! For the
younger generation, it is frightening to take risks early on in their career field.
But the best cure for fear is to channel it into something that you are passionate
about. The founder of the well-established John’s Crazy Socks , John Cronin, has
had to overcome a lot of adversity in his life, due to having Down’s Syndrome, but
he made the decision to not let his fear stop him. And it’s safe to say that he has
not looked back since then. Now, John is fulfilling his dreams of spreading
positivity and happiness to individuals across the globe through every pair of
socks that are sold!
Similar to that of all good business moguls, the idea for John’s Crazy Socks came
about sporadically. John was due to graduate from high school in June 2017, and
in the fall of 2016 he began to explore his options for after graduation. Looking
around, John wasn’t really fond of any of the options that he saw. Coincidentally
at the time, John’s father, Mark Cronin, was doing start-ups for various online
companies; and John, having the good entrepreneurial spirit that he does,
approached his father about starting their own business venture together.
John came to his father with multiple ideas for their company. “The first one that
he suggested was a fun store, we still really have no idea what a fun store is.”
Mark recalls with a chuckle. “John came up with another idea, which was to start
a food truck. He got the idea from the movie Chef, starring Jon Favreau, it’s about
a father-son team starting a food truck, and he liked that idea. But we ran into a
problem…[we can’t cook.]” John sheepishly adds.
From the brief excerpt of dialogue above, you can get a sense of John and Mark’s
dynamic relationship. If two people were ever destined to launch a company
together, without a doubt, it is these two. For most people, going into business
with a parent would be nothing but shy of a disaster; but John and Mark’s
relationship is so pure and charismatic, they truly consider themselves to be their
other’s best friend. Their enthusiasm for their project and for working with each
other was equally apparent as it was inspiring. They truly want to spread as
much positivity into the world as possible, and the heart of their company is
them. When you look at it that way, they couldn’t help but succeed!
Why did you choose socks?
John had always been a collector of funky and colorful socks, so much so, that
before they started the company John and Mark would often spend hours driving
around looking for colorful socks. When he approached his father with the idea
of starting a sock company, it was destiny in its truest form!
When asked why socks specifically, John states, “I wore crazy socks my entire life. They are fun, colorful and creative. They let me be me.” Part of their success is largely due to
the positive essence of the company’s image, but also thanks to word of mouth
from their large following and media coverage. Furthermore, the positive
response that they received so early on enabled them to grow very quickly and
has now given them the title of being the largest sock company in the world (they
sell over 1900 different pairs)!
On the website, their mission is one of the first things that your eye is drawn to. It
reads: ” Spreading happiness through socks.” Which, in knowing both of the
owners, I can attest wholeheartedly to the fact that they take the mission
extremely personally. There are a lot of companies out there who fail to take
their mission to heart in the same extent that John’s Crazy Socks has. As a strictly
online retailer, they use primarily e-commerce, but it has not stopped them in
any way from being regarded as a top social enterprise.
Mark, handles the business aspects of the corporation, and is very proud of what
it has morphed into within the last year and a half. They employ 30 individuals,
18 of which have a various disabilities of their own. They are trying to end the
stigmatism that disabled individuals do not belong in the workforce, by setting a
new precedence for all companies far and wide!
John truly has a heart of gold when it comes to connecting with his audience and
giving back. He doesn’t take any of the opportunities that he’s been given for
granted, and remains very humble in spite of his superstar status! Being the face
and spirit behind a million dollar corporation definitely has its advantages. His
favorite things about having his own company is his ability to give back to a
community that has lifted him up.
How do you remain so connected to your consumers with being a primarily
Along with making videos and doing speaking engagements, John does a lot of
fun things to help promote his business. For every purchase that comes in, John
hand writes a thank you note and includes a piece of candy. Additionally, they
make home deliveries to people in the areas surrounding Huntington, NY; which
is where he resides.
John being the true entrepreneurial role model that he is, has made it a priority
since the company’s launch to donate five percent of the company’s profits to a
charity of his choice. His favorite is the Special Olympics, an organization
that gives opportunities to kids and teenagers who have intellectual disabilities,
such as Downs Syndrome, to prosper developmentally through physical exercise
and building teamwork with peers. This charity has played a vital role in
allowing John to grow and become the man that we all know and love today!
On their website, the corporation has a whole plethora of socks pertaining to
Special Olympics. John wears multiple hats within the company, one, that people
often aren’t privy to, is that he designs several of the socks himself. All the socks
that they make are made in the United States, but they also get most of their
inventory from other companies that are located in various parts of the world.
Besides being a hard worker and an entrepreneurial mastermind, John is an
average twenty-year-old man. His favorite color is blue and he enjoys spending
time with his family and friends, especially his dad. In his free time, he loves
going to baseball games and going to the movies, his favorites are Mamma Mia 1
and 2. John is also a music buff, and savors singing in his breaks at the office. And
at the rate that he’s going, who knows, maybe we’ll see John’s name in big lights
A big animal lover, John is too busy at the moment to have any pets. But he
dreams of owning a Bison one day. Which would not be a pet that you could
necessarily cuddle with, but you definitely wouldn’t have to be worried about
your home being broken into. That is, if you could find a way to fit it into an
John’s Crazy Socks is a company that I hope will create a standard for many more
companies to follow. John wanted a job, so he found a way to create one for
himself. Their mission in the workplace was to give opportunities to people with
intellectual disabilities and to create a new standard for diversity and acceptance
within the workplace. A disability does not rob people of their ambition, if
anything, it forces them to work harder towards attaining their goals. And in the
workplace, disability is not something that should be feared but rather
celebrated. John has Downs Syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped him from
achieving anything that he sets his mind to, in his words: “I have Down’s
Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome doesn’t hold me back!”
Someone’s enthusiasm and perseverance in a quest for their dreams is nothing
short of inspiring to bear witness to. Fear is not something to be given into,
instead it should serve as a motivating force. What would the world be like if
John had not been courageous enough to follow his heart and start his own
company? For one, the world would be a lot less of a colorful place and we would
be deprived of the best socks known to man! John was put on this earth for a
reason, as is everyone else. Creativity and capability know no bounds, and the
sooner we all realize this, the better off the world will be!
For all of your future crazy sock needs, visit johnscrazysocks.com