Making Socks and Inspiring People with Differing Abilities with John & Mark Cronin of John’s Crazy Socks


John Cronin and his dad Mark X. Cronin are the Co-Founders of John's Crazy Socks, a social enterprise with the mission to spread happiness. In just 3 years, they bootstrapped their startup into a multi-million dollar company with sales in over 80 nations. 

John has Down Syndrome and lives his life with the motto: "Down Syndrome never holds me back". More than half of their employees have a differing ability and everyday John and Mark demonstrate what their colleagues are capable of. They are fierce advocates for the rights of the differently-abled, testifying twice before the US Congress and having spoken at the United Nations. 

John and Mark are winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year and The Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Humanitarian of the Year Award. They're members of the US State Department's Speaker's Bureau and have addressed audiences across the US, Canada, and Mexico, speaking before social service agencies, fundraisers, universities, and corporations.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll hear: 

  • The story behind the founding of John's Crazy Socks
  • How the father-son duo bootstrapped to set up their business
  • Mark and John talk about the first day of opening for business and how they delivered their products to customers
  • The major challenges the business partners faced in their new company
  • Why John’s Crazy Socks donates 5% of their earnings to the Special Olympics
  • Why people find John Cronin inspirational
  • The business and social missions of John's Crazy Socks and how their core values have grown over the last 3 years
  • What John's Crazy Socks does to stand out from its competitors
  • Mark's advice to entrepreneurs and business people on personalizing their businesses to provide better service to customers
  • How John's Crazy Socks started gaining traction in early 2017
  • Why transparency when donating is important and how it can lead to a business' growth
  • How John's Crazy Socks attracts media coverage and Mark's advice on working with the media
  • The people and organizations Mark and John admire or look up to 
  • How Microsoft has been innovative in its recruitment process to accommodate people with different abilities
  • The importance of employee engagement, company missions, and cultivating values in a business environment
  • How to get in touch with Mark and John Cronin

In this episode…

When John Cronin left high school, he wanted to go into business. The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is at an all-time high in the US and since John has Down Syndrome, he knew getting a job would be tough. So, with the help of his father, Mark X. Cronin, John started searching for business ideas and eventually had his Eureka moment: socks. John and Mark became business partners and immediately got started by building a Shopify store and getting their first inventory. 

When they got 42 orders on the first day of business, they knew they were onto something big. They have since scaled their business to over 7 figures and have appeared in several media outlets including the BBC, Fox Business News, and ABC News, as well as on Google and magazines like Money and The Mighty. 

John Cronin and Mark Cronin, the father-son Co-Founders of John's Crazy Socks, are this week's guests on the Relationship Commerce Podcast, where they talk to Dean Dutro about how they built a fun and colorful socks business with limited resources. John and Mark explain why they chose a socks business, the main challenges they faced when bootstrapping, what they did to beat the competition, and why they decided to prioritize developing a social enterprise.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is sponsored by Worth eCommerce.

Worth eCommerce is a small mighty team of eCommerce email marketers who help businesses of all sizes dramatically grow revenue with lifecycle email marketing. It is made up of copywriters, designers, strategizers, and marketing extraordinaires who specialize in nurturing relationships and guiding sales through the sheer power of email.

Worth eCommerce's sole focus is creating a lasting relationship between eCommerce sellers and their customers through the most personable form of digital connection: email. Businesses that send personable, interesting, and helpful emails earn the trust and continued business from that same customer. 

Worth eCommerce’s mission is to help small medium sized e-commerce businesses generate more than a million dollars a year each in revenue using their own marketing channels.

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