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The Crazy Success Behind 'John's Crazy Socks'

2018-9-19

After graduating from high school, many young people are excited to go off to college. But not all. Some may want to skip college and jump right into a business.

That was the case with John Cronin from Long Island, New York. He did not dream of going to college. He dreamed of going into business with his father. But they did not know what kind of business.

John Cronin told Money magazine that he thought about starting a food truck. But, there was one problem. Neither he nor his father can cook.

After some thinking, the father-son team decided to go into business making a product the younger Cronin loves: socks!

Mark, John’s father, says his son has always loved colorful, wild socks. So, they created John’s Crazy Socks Company.

The younger Cronin explains what he loves about his work.

"I want to sell crazy socks. Why socks? Because it's fun, it's colorful. I like to be creative, and I want to see wonderful things here.”
(Mark) "You're a talented guy!"
(John) "Yes, I am."

John was born with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes learning disabilities and developmental delays. But that has not stopped him from gaining major success in the business world.

Since launching John's Crazy Socks, father and son have been crazy busy making crazy money. But their business also helps others with disabilities.

“We've been able to create 35 jobs —18 of those are held by people with differing abilities. We've raised over $135,000 for our charity partners.”

The father and son divide the duties of the business.

John works on sock design but he is also the face of the company. This means he represents the company on its advertising used to help sell the product and on the packaging of the product. Mark takes care of the books, managing money, supplies and hiring.

John and Mark try to make each sock purchase personal. So, they hand-carry orders to customers in the Long Island area. But for those who live farther, John sends a personal note with each order he sends.

(Mark) "What's our mission?"

(John) "Our mission is to spread happiness."

(Mark) "Our customers are happy. We have over 10,000 online reviews — 96 percent of those are five-star reviews — and we've done a lot of work, a lot of business. We've shipped over 115,000 orders and earned over $4 million in revenue."

Five percent of John's profits goes to the Special Olympics. The company also gives to the National Down Syndrome Society and the Association for Children with Down Syndrome.

John Cronin is living his dream; spreading happiness, one pair of crazy socks at a time.

I’m Anna Matteo.


Faiza Elmasry reported this story for VOA News. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

skip v. to pass by or leave out

sock n. a knitted or woven covering for the foot usually worn under shoes and extending above the ankle and sometimes to the knee

crazyadj. very strange or unusual : very much : with a lot of energy and speed

talented adj. a person or group of people with a special ability to do something well

charity n. the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc.

mission n. a task that you consider to be a very important duty

review v. an act of carefully looking at or examining the quality or condition of something or someone : examination or inspection

revenue n. money that is made by or paid to a business or an organization