New Yorker John Cronin has faced a hurdle on his road to multimillion dollar business success that most do not have to deal with. John has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause widespread physical and cognitive symptoms. Even so, John had the idea to create and sell “crazy socks” and went ahead and built a business that does just that.
Towards the end of 2016, John wondered what he would do after finishing high school. He didn’t seem to have much in the way of opportunity because he lived with a learning disability. So he approached his dad, Mark, and shared his idea of starting their own business. And given John’s fondness for wearing crazy socks, there was one thing that he wanted to specialize in.
John started the business in order to work with his dad. So they started up online, and the orders flooded in. In the first year, the company did $1.7 million of business; in the second, it had expanded to be a $5 million concern with 39 employees. And it’s not just socks, as John told magazine Business Insider in March 2019, “We have a goal to spread happiness.”
In his role as Chief Happiness Officer, John takes his job very seriously. As he told Business Insider,“I work very hard in my business. I want everyone to know that I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back.” His passionate advocacy for those who live with the syndrome has seen him at Capitol Hill, testifying before Congress.
In 2019 John’s success was recognized by professional services firm EY, when it gave him an Entrepreneur Of The Year award. This accolade is considered one of the most distinguished in New York and is part of a global program. John is the first person ever living with Down syndrome to earn one of these esteemed awards.