Entrepreneur with Down syndrome builds $1.3 million business selling socks

Entrepreneur with Down syndrome builds $1.3 million business selling socks
A 21-year-old entrepreneur with Down syndrome has built a $1.3 million business selling socks. John Cronin, the co-founder and Chief Happiness Officer of John’s Crazy Socks, said he has a simple business philosophy: “socks, socks, and more socks.” (Image source: Fox Business screenshot)

A 21-year-old entrepreneur with Down syndrome has built a $1.3 million business selling socks, according to Fox Business.

Who is the entrepreneur?

In an interview with Fox Business, John Cronin, the co-founder and Chief Happiness Officer of John’s Crazy Socks said he has a simple business philosophy: “socks, socks, and more socks.”

But John’s Crazy Socks has another mission too. The company is seeking to overcome stereotypes about what people with disabilities can accomplish and to give back to the community.

“Down syndrome never holds me back,” John said. “I love inspiring people.”

What does the company do?

When John was about to graduate from high school, he spent time thinking about what he would like to do next,  according to his father, Mark X. Cronin, the co-founder and president of John’s Crazy Socks.

“He started talking to me about going into business,” Mark said.

Inspired by John’s love for colorful socks, they decided to open an online sock store. They opened for business in December 2016 and they now sell more than 1,300 different pairs of unique, colorful socks.

“We are on a mission to spread happiness, and we are spreading that message through socks,” Mark said.

Mark said they ship orders the same day, and each order includes John’s story, a thank-you note from John, some candy, and two discount cards, “one for you and one to give to a friend.”

He said the startup had its fair share of challenges, including getting manufacturers to go into business with a company without a 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,” Mark said. “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. Which I would suggest is pretty good for a startup.”

How does the company give back?

John and Mark said they donate 5 percent of their sales to charities like the National Down Syndrome Society. They carry socks in support of causes like Autism Awareness. They are also dedicated to employing people who have a disability.

“We are demonstrating that by working with people with special needs they become an asset, they become a reason for our success, not a liability, not an obstacle,” Mark said. “We had to overcome that.”

Elyssa, a sock picker at John’s Crazy Socks, told Fox Business, “It feels good knowing that I got a full day of work and I can go home and I am happy.”

How is business?

The business boasts over 80,000 Facebook fans. They recently expanded into a larger warehouse and office in Melville, New York. Their customers include former president George H.W. Bush, comedian Kevin James and Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt.

“John and I have this special partnership,” Mark said. “We both know we need each other. We are both committed to the mission we have and we want to work together, I’m a lucky man to be able to work with my son.”

John added, “I’m telling the whole world, I really can do anything.”

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