John and Mark X. Cronin, the co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, came to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver socks and happiness to the College of the Holy Cross. Mark is a graduate of Holy Cross (Class of 1980), so the journey back to his alma mater carried special meaning. The Cronins were busy during their visit as they delivered socks to the Office of Advancement for use in a fundraising campaign, met with new President Vincent D. Rougeau and spoke to students in the Entrepreneurs Program.
Custom Socks for Fundraising
The Office at Advancement at Holy Cross had a novel idea: they would offer a pair of specially designed socks from John’s Crazy Socks to donors. They sent out an email reading, “Don't get cold feet! Warm your mistle-toes with a pair of Holy Cross socks! For a limited time, we’ll send you a special edition pair of Holy Cross socks when you make a one-time gift of $25 or more.”
John’s Crazy Socks has made custom socks for big companies (e.g., Microsoft, Google, EY) to local PTAs to weddings and sweet sixteen parties, but these socks were made with extra love and care because of the connection to Holy Cross.
“Holy Cross helped make me the person I am today,” said Mark X. Cronin, “I met the love of my life there, my wife and John’s Mom, and learned so much: how to think, how to frame and solve problems and how to communicate. But I also learned the importance of values and how our beliefs are made manifest in everything we do. I learned about leading an intentional life. Though I graduated decades ago, Holy Cross is alive in the mission that drives John’s Crazy Socks.”
Chad Minnich, the Director of Advancement Communications, coordinated the project and revealed that the campaign with the socks had been a smashing success.
Meeting with the Entrepreneurs Program
Professor Ja-Nae Duane leads a class on entrepreneurship and invited John and Mark to speak with the class to share their entrepreneurial journey. “Our Entrepreneurship workshop starts where every business should start: with building you as a leader and cultivating your skillset,” says Professor Duane who is the entrepreneur-in-residence at Holy Cross.
John greeted the class by saying, “You are our tribe, fellow entrepreneurs.”
John and Mark shared their origin story and the way they have built John’s Crazy Socks as a social enterprise, having both a social and a business mission that are indivisible. Mark said, “We all want to make money, but that alone is not enough. We need to create sustainable value.”
This approach echoed what Professor Duane had previously shared with the class, “A true ethical leader needs to look at all sides and as many perspectives as possible in order to build something that is not only sustainable, but is also sustainably good for humanity.”
After the class, Professor Duane told the Cronins, “It was so wonderful to have you in our last class of the semester. I honestly think it was a fantastic way to wrap the semester for these students. The honesty of your story is exactly what they need to hear, so thank you!”
Working with Colleges and Universities
John’s Crazy Socks has worked with a growing list of colleges and universities. John and Mark have spoken at schools across the country and into Canada including Vanderbilt University, Loyola Chicago, Rutgers, Hofstra, the University of Houston, Simon Fraser University and many more. Mark said, “We love speaking with entrepreneurs, bringing equal doses of reality and insights, but mostly inspiration.”
The company also makes custom socks and creates gift packages that have been used as fundraising items. Some sell the socks to raise money while others offer the socks at thank you gifts for donations as Holy Cross did.
About the College of the Holy Cross
The College of the Holy Cross located in Worcester, Mass., is among the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions. A highly selective, four-year, exclusively undergraduate college of 2,900 students, Holy Cross is renowned for offering a rigorous, personalized education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Since its founding in 1843, Holy Cross has made a positive impact in society by graduating students who distinguish themselves as thoughtful leaders in business, professional and civic life.
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™. They do this by offering socks people can love that allows an expression of one’s true self and by giving back, by creating jobs for people with differing abilities and by 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.