John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, brought their message of inclusion and hope to the human resource committee of the Hauppauge Industrial Association, one of the largest business groups in the northeast United States.
“We shared our story of creating and growing John’s Crazy Socks so others can see what’s possible,” said Mark X. Cronin.
John added, “I have Down syndrome, but I show that Down syndrome never holds me back.”
They spoke about creating their business and overcoming obstacles and then shared the benefits of hiring people with differing abilities. “It is not altruism, it is good business,” said Mark.
Suzanne Mayo, from H2M architects+engineers who chairs the HR Committee, said, “This was an amazing presentation. Truly inspiring.”
Judy Nellem added, “An inspiring story is an understatement.”
The HIA-LI has been a powerful force and economic engine on Long Island for nearly 45 years. They are the stewards for the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, the largest innovation park in the Northeast with over 55,000 employees, 1,300 companies and an economic output of over $13 Billion. THE HIA-LI provides a forum for business leaders to connect, problem solve, and obtain advice on critical issues facing their businesses.
Business Leaders speaking to Business Leaders
John and Mark welcomed the opportunity to speak with other business leaders, especially those in the field of Human Resources. Business can make a difference in our communities and societies and the HR leaders determine who gets to join those organizations and how they treat their people.
John and Mark shared the story of how they started John’s Crazy Socks, how John could not find meaningful work so he said to his father, “I want to create a business with you.” It was John’s idea to sell socks and to base a business on spreading happiness.
“Origin stories give organizations their DNA,” said Mark X. Cronin.
The father-son team spoke of how they built their business on a social enterprise model having both social and a business mission that feed off each other. They have bootstrapped that business into the world’s largest sock store and have been recognized as EY Entrepreneurs of the Year.
John and Mark shared the five pillars on which they have built the business:
- Inspiration and Hope: Showing what people with differing abilities can do
- Giving Back: They start by donating five percent of earnings to the Special Olympics
- Fun Products You Can Love
- Making It Personal: Creating Customer Experiences
- Making John’s Crazy Socks a Great Place to Work
Demonstrating How Inclusion is Good for Business
John and Mark did more than offer an inspiring story. They also gave concrete ways in which a business, even a small business, can hire people with differing abilities and how that can help their business.
“We hear all the time from employers who say they cannot find enough good workers, yet we have 20 million people with a disability who are ready, willing and able to work. At John’s Crazy Socks, we tap into that vast pool of labor and that enables us to find great colleagues who do tremendous work. We want to show others how they can do the same,” said Mark X. Cronin.
John and Mark have recorded a TEDx Talk on this topic: “Hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business.”
Keynote and Event Speakers
You can have John and Mark speak to your organization or school. 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. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics, and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.
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 $630,000 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, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.