Melville, NY: When EY announced that John and Mark X. Cronin of John’s Crazy Socks won an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 New York Award, history was made in an unexpected way: 23-year-old John Cronin is the first person with Down syndrome to ever win in what is widely considered one of the most prestigious business awards programs in New York and beyond.
The Cronins, who won in the “Mission Driven” category, are also the only father-son team to win among 11 companies total. The EY program recognizes entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies for innovation, financial performance, and their impact on the world.
John Cronin, co-founder and Chief Happiness Officer of John’s Crazy Socks, said, “I’m so excited to win! Every day, we want to show the world what is possible when you give someone a chance.”
When asked about being the first person with Down syndrome named an Entrepreneur of the Year winner, John said, “I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back. Look at what people can do, not what they cannot do.”
Spreading Happiness One Sock (Well, Two) at a Time
There are many reasons why the two Cronins would be named Entrepreneurs of the Year: Their business is changing the status quo. From donating sales to various charities to employing people with differing abilities, the Cronins have made social impact a priority at John’s Crazy Socks since day one.
They pledge five percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics and donate money from their Awareness and Charity socks to other charity partners. To date, they have raised more than $300,000 for the National Down Syndrome Society, the Autism Society of America, and the Williams Syndrome Association, among others.
Most importantly, John’s Crazy Socks provides meaningful work for many people with differing abilities from the Long Island area where they are based. More than half of their employees are differently abled, and the company shows the world what people with differing abilities can do through social media, school tours, work groups and speaking engagements. Videos featuring their employees have been viewed over 6 million times.
Co-founder Mark Cronin says, “All we are trying to do is change the world.”
The World at Their Feet
The Cronins match their social impact with vigorous business that has taken the young company to the forefront of e-commerce. John’s Crazy Socks earned $1.7 million in revenue in its first full year in business and showed over 300% growth (to $5.5 million in revenue) in its second year.
John Cronin includes a thank-you note and candy in every package and makes thank-you videos for customers who post to the company’s social media pages. The Cronins offer 2,300 different socks—more than any other sock store in the world—and compete with the titans of the industry like Amazon and Wal-Mart by providing same-day shipping and world-class customer service.
“We love our customers,” said John Cronin, “and they love us.” Indeed, of John’s Crazy Socks’ more than 20,000 online reviews, 96 percent are 5-star reviews.
John and Mark are also sought-after speakers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and are part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. In addition, the father and son have twice testified before Congress on the rights of people with differing abilities.
Adds Mark Cronin, “As co-founders of a company that puts as much emphasis on its social impact as its bottom line, we are especially honored to win in the ‘Misson Driven’ category. We hope it inspires other entrepreneurs to aim for a higher purpose in their own company goals.”
About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of the Year,founded by EY in 1986, celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than 10,000 outstanding entrepreneurs around the world.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks is a father-son venture 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.” We're on a mission to spread happiness. The company is built on four pillars:
Inspiration and Hope: We hire people with differing abilities, share videos to show what people can do, host school tours and school groups that come for work experience. We want the world to see what people with differing abilities can do.
Giving Back: We donate 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics and raise money through our Sock of the Month Club and charity and awareness socks for our charity partners like Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Williams Syndrome Association. We have raised more than $300,000 for our charity partners and publish a monthly Giving Back Report.
Socks You Can Love: We have over 2,300 different socks plus a Sock of the Month Club, gift boxes and gift bags. And our selection is matched by our customer service: Most customers receive their socks within two days of ordering.
Making It Personal: Every package gets a thank-you note from John and some candy.