21-year-old with Down Syndrome has million dollar company—but he doesn’t keep all the profits

January 27, 2018 10:41 am Last Updated: January 29, 2018 11:42 am

Running a business is tough work with a lot of moving parts but, if you really set your mind to it, you can do it. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you have an idea and you stick to it, you can be a success. That’s what John Cronin has proven.

John is a 21-year-old with Down Syndrome living in Long Island, New York. He’s the co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks, working alongside his father, Mark X. Cronin.

As soon as he graduated high school back in 2016, he knew he wanted to start a business with his dad, but it took him a few tries to figure out exactly what they wanted to do.

His first idea was “a fun store” but that idea fell apart because John and Mark weren’t sure exactly what a “fun store” was.

The next idea was a food truck, inspired by a movie they saw about a father/son duo and their food truck. The issue with that idea was that neither of them could cook.

Finally, they decided to sell socks.

(BBC News/Screenshot)

“John had worn crazy and colorful socks his whole life, so it was something he loved and he suggested we should sell socks,” Mark told BBC News.

In the early days, the business had some issues keeping up with orders. In the first month, John’s Crazy Socks delivered 452 orders, but just a few months later they were already up to 10,000. They needed to move their inventory to a larger facility in order to keep up.

“We’ve been a little surprised at how fast it’s grown,” Mark said.

The company’s new larger storage facility. (John’s Crazy Socks/Screenshot)

Yet those were good problems to have, prompting the business to go bigger and better. Now John’s Crazy Socks sells 1,500 different varieties of socks including special charity socks that go to specific causes. Their staff has expanded to 12—eight of whom have a disability—and they’ve been raking in the proceeds: over $1.4 million in their first year!

For some people, this amount of success would go their heads, but not John.

He puts a lot of care into each order, sending candy and a personalized thank you note along with them.

(BBC News/Screenshot)

If you live near Long Island, John might personally deliver the socks to your door. But, even if you live on the other side of the country or world, you know that he is thinking globally too as 5 percent of each sale goes to The Special Olympics.

“We’re spreading happiness through socks,” John said.

John and Mark seem to have a lot of fun with their business, posting photo and video updates almost daily on their Facebook page.

John’s Crazy Socks also has their own YouTube channel. In one video John announces that they’d sent Ryan Seacrest a box of socks after they heard that he didn’t wear any!

“If this was John’s Serious Socks, it’s not really going to be working,” Mark said.

The company is proud to report very little conflict over the past year, but that could have easily been different had the founders not had each other to rely on.

“We both are absolutely committed to the vision we have and we know we need each other. I couldn’t do this without John,” Mark said on video.

“You probably couldn’t do this without me, right?” he asked his son.

John replies, “Right, dad.”

“And we’re having fun! We’re spreading happiness! What’s better than that?” Mark said.

When some people look at John Cronin, they might just see a guy with Down Syndrome but we just see a successful businessman.

“Down syndrome never holds me back,” he said proudly.

The million dollar sock entrepreneur with Down's syndrome

"Down's syndrome never holds me back. We're spreading happiness through socks." 🧦Meet John, the 21-year-old entrepreneur, making his millions selling crazy and colourful socks. bbc.in/2EHV4Zs(Via BBC Money)

Posted by BBC News on Monday, January 15, 2018