John and Mark of John’s Crazy Socks Speak to the Fashion Program at West Hempstead High School

John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, brought inspiration and hands-on know-how to the students in the West Hempstead High School Fashion Program.  They shared how they started their business while John was still in high school. And they shared a path the students could take to build a fashion brand, start a business or begin their careers.

“You are so positive, thank you so much,” one student told John after the presentation.

John with students at West Hempstead High School

John, who has Down syndrome, wants students to see that nothing can hold them back. “I love meeting with students and sharing the story about my business. I want to help them any way I can.”

Lynn Castoro, who leads the Fashion Program, said welcoming John into the class was like having a rock star visit. “We loved the talk John and Mark gave. It was so inspiring and helpful for the students. You could see the students light up.”

John with teacher after speaking engagement

Speaking to High School Students

Yes, John and Mark often provide keynote speeches for large conferences and some of the largest businesses in the United States and yes, they have spoken at colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, but they still make time to speak with high school students. Mark explained, “We think it is important to encourage the dreams of high school students and to spur the entrepreneurism within them. We reserve time to speak to high school students here on Long Island and across the country through virtual talks.”

In their meetings with high school students, John and Mark offer a combination of inspiration and practical knowledge. They share the story of how they started and bootstrapped John’s Crazy Socks into the world’s largest sock store. They emphasize the possibilities inside all of us and in everyone we meet. Part of their origin story focuses on how John having Down syndrome did not limit him, emphasizing our individual abilities to overcome potential obstacles, but also speaking to the need for diversity and to recognize the possibilities within others.

Speaking Engagement at West Hempstead High School

And the talk answers the questions many students have: how can I start a business? John and Mark offer practical advice that the students can use right now.

One student told John after the talk, “This was so cool. Thank you for coming to our class.”

Supporting West Hempstead High School and their SEPTA

In 2022, John’s Crazy socks worked with the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) at West Hempstead to empower students in the special education program. The students held a sock design contest and then John’s Crazy Socks made those socks for the West Hempstead SEPTA to use as a fundraiser. Before giving their talk to the Fashion program, John met with students from the special education program, answering their questions and taking pictures with them.

John with Special Education Studnts at West Hempstead High School

John’s Crazy Socks work with many SEPTA organizations. We have made custom socks for many organizations that they either sell to raise money or use as thank you gifts for incentives for donations. John’s Crazy Socks also offers a Charity Fundraising Program that many SEPTAs have used to raise funds.

Have John and Mark Speak at an Event for You

You can have John and Mark X. Cronin speak at an event for you. They tailor their talk for their audience but always emphasize how we can overcome obstacles to achieve our dreams and make a difference in the world. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve.

Mark and John have served as keynote speakers for conferences, corporate events and fundraising galas across the United States, Canada and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at corporate events for the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Moody’s, Kohl’s and Bank of America as well as non-profit groups like the National Down Syndrome Society and the Special Olympics.

Speaking Engagement

Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations. Their work has been featured on many national news shows (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, PBS, BBC, etc.). They are winners of many awards including the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. They serve on the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable.

John and Mark recently recorded their second TEDx Talk entitled, “Hiring People with People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business.” That Talk is available on YouTube and the TED platform. Their first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is also available on YouTube and the TED platform.

You can learn more about their speaking engagements here or reach out to Maria at 631-760-5625.

About John’s Crazy Socks 

John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $550,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™. 

For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at