John Lee Cronin, who has Down syndrome, is the inspiration half of the father-son duo that founded John’s Crazy Socks. John and his father created the business as John was graduating from high school and deciding what to do next. As a student, John participated in retail and customer service classes. He tells Undivided that he “loved working in the school store and interacting with the customers.” His father, Mark X. Cronin, was setting up online businesses when John realized his desire for the two of them to start one. He says he wanted a “fun and creative” store. 

John Lee Cronin, a white man with short black hair wearing a white hoodie sporting a cartoon drawing of his own face and colorful letters reading “John’s Crazy Socks,” stands in front of a poster of the same image. He holds two Downs syndrome awareness socks that read 3 "heart" 21.
John Lee Cronin, a white man with short black hair wearing a white hoodie sporting a cartoon drawing of his own face and colorful letters reading “John’s Crazy Socks,” stands in front of a poster of the same image. He holds 2 purple Downs syndrome awareness socks that read 3 "heart" 21.

 

An adult's legs wear black socks reading "Big Boss," while two small black socks reading "Little Boss" lie nearby.
An adult's legs wear black socks reading "Big Boss," while
2 small black socks reading "Little Boss" lie nearby.

In a moment of genius, the idea of selling crazy socks was born. “I wore crazy socks my entire life,” John says. “They’re fun, colorful, and creative. They let me be me.” John’s Crazy Socks sells a huge variety of funky men’s, women’s, and children’s socks — including, of course, crazy holiday socks. They create more than a hundred of their own patterns and act as a wholesaler for other sock designers. You can also send in a photo or your own design and they'll make a custom pair of socks for you! As a year-round bonus, each order is sent with candy and a handwritten thank-you note from John. Spreading happiness and demonstrating what is possible is the Cronins’ mission. The staff of John’s Crazy Socks is made up of 35 people, 15 of whom have disabilities. 

A yellow Lab puppy peeks out from the top of green and red striped socks.
A yellow Lab puppy peeks out from
the top of green and red striped socks
.

John tells us that the company’s criteria for choosing a sock pattern include “whether it will make customers happy, whether it is fun, and whether John likes it.” Socks supporting awareness for Down syndrome and Autism are offered, as well as socks to benefit front line healthcare workers and animal rescue; the company donates 10% of all awareness socks to various applicable charities, and 5% of the proceeds from all John's socks are donated to the Special Olympics. The CBS Evening News reported that in 2018, John’s Crazy Socks had $2.5 million dollars in revenue. 

John’s advice for others with disabilities interested in starting a business is to "follow your dream, follow your heart, and work hard." You can learn more about John, his dad, and John’s Crazy Socks on the company’s YouTube Channel

On the right, a white socks lists classic novels that have been banned; the sock on the left features black lines over the titles.
On the right, a white sock lists classic novels that have been banned;
the sock on the left features black lines over the titles.

 

 

And to complement your fun new socks, why not get a cute body-positive T-shirt from Wheelchair Rapunzel & Co. while you’re at it? The company’s founder, Alex Dacy, is a fierce self-advocate with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. 

A navy T-shirt reads "50% baddie, 50% advocate, 100% mom"
A navy T-shirt reads "50% baddie, 50% advocate, 100% mom"

 

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