John and Mark X. Cronin, the father-son team that co-founded John’s Crazy Socks, travel the country speaking to audiences as they spread happiness and show the world what people with differing abilities can do. Those efforts led them to speak with the Riverhead Rotary Club where they brought their message of hope and can-do spirit.
John Cronin said, “We have a mission to spread happiness. I always say the two keys to happiness are gratitude and doing for others. I love the Rotary because they have a motto ‘Service above Self.’”
John and Mark spoke at the monthly meeting of the Riverhead Rotary Club at the Sea Star Ballroom in downtown Riverhead. They had people laughing and some shed a few tears, and at the end, the pair received a standing ovation.
A Speaking Engagement with the Rotary International
John and Mark make for riveting speakers because they speak from the heart. John has Down syndrome, though he always says, “Down syndrome never holds me back.”
The pair told the story of how they started John’s Crazy Socks. In his last year of school, John could not find meaningful work so he decided to create his own job. He told his father, “I want to go into 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
Speaking with Small Business Owners
While they offer an inspirational talk, John and Mark also shared practical experiences with their fellow small business owners in the Rotary. They spoke of their branding – how they developed their logo and why they put a handwritten note from John and a candy in every package. They emphasized the value of creating customer experiences that develop loyalty in customers.
Keynote and Event Speakers
John and Mark X. Cronin are frequent speakers at conferences and corporate events. 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 at virtual 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.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations on two occasions. Their work has been featured on many national news shows. 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.
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 $600,000 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.