By Victoria Espinoza
For one father-son duo, the secret ingredient to success is socks. John Cronin, a 21-year-old Huntington resident diagnosed with Down syndrome, was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life after he graduated from Huntington High School, when John’s Crazy Socks was born.
The two-month-old business venture has already seen success, and Cronin and his dad Mark Cronin are continually coming up with new and unique ideas to set John’s Crazy Socks apart.
“We opened the store Dec. 9 and expected a trickle of sales,” Mark Cronin said in a phone interview. “Instead we were flooded with sales. It turns out John is a social media star.”
The co-founders shot and uploaded a variety of videos to the company’s Facebook page, starring the 21-year-old who has become the face of the business.
“Those first couple of videos we put up, which were spur of the moment, had 30,00 views,” the elder business partner said. “People were spreading them all around Huntington. So people flooded us and in fact on our first weekend we ran out of inventory.”
John’s Crazy Socks now ships nationally and internationally, and for local residents shipping may be the most enjoyable part of ordering from the company. Cronin hand-delivers local orders, which his dad said is an extra treat for customers.
“Word spread through social media that John would show up to a house to do a delivery, and whole families would come out to greet him and take photos,” he said.
Cronin said it’s one of his favorite parts of the business.
“I really like going to do home deliveries,” he said in a phone interview.
Aside from a friendly face with a new order of socks, patrons also receive a hand-written thank you note from Cronin as well as some Hershey kisses.
“We’ve learned a lot and saw there is a real opportunity here,” his father said. “We’re spreading happiness through socks, and it’s a way of connecting with people. The more people we can make happy the better off we will be.”
The team also gives customers two coupons with each purchase.
“We want to make it a great experience for people to buy from us,” Cronin’s father said.
He said the duo has high hopes for John’s Crazy Socks, as they intend to become the world’s largest sock store, offering more sock styles and designs than anyone else. When the company started in December, they offered 31 different styles of socks. Today they offer more than 550 different styles.
It’s not just different colors and concepts customers can find at John’s Crazy Socks. They also sell socks with meaning behind them. Cronin designed an autism awareness and a Down syndrome awareness sock, as well as a breast cancer sock, and a Special Olympics sock. Cronin’s father said a portion of the proceeds from each specialized sock goes to national and local charity groups working towards finding a cure or to advocating for the groups, depending on the cause.
A blue whale sock was created for the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and there are many other personalized socks to come.
For Cronin, socks represent self-expression.
“I really like socks,” he said. ‘They’re fun and they can fit your own personality.”
The elder Cronin said he’s enjoyed many aspects of starting the business with his son.
“I love bringing joy to people, the little things we get to do to just wow people,” he said. “We live in this increasingly complex world, and we can connect with people and say we hear you and we can make you happy, and that’s awesome. And it’s great to be able to do something with my son.”