John Lee Cronin, who has Down syndrome, and his father Mark Cronin founded John’s Crazy Socks in 2016–John’s last year of high school. John has always loved wearing fun, colorful socks, so the father-son team made it their mission to offer everyone kooky socks with a social mission. The company launched with a website and Facebook page, and three years later is a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. The award “recognizes and celebrates unstoppable entrepreneurs who redefine the way we live, work and play.”
In John’s Crazy Socks’ earliest days, John and Mark hand-delivered socks to customers, complete with candy and a thank you note from John. Word of the company spread when happy customers took photos with John and shared them on social media. By the end of its first month, John’s Crazy Socks had shipped 452 orders and earned more than $13,000 in revenue, and only grew from there. Today, customers can choose from hundreds of pairs of zany socks, such as pairs with basketballs, funny sayings, or Oreo cookies imprinted on them, and join the Sock of the Month Club. The company donates 5% of its earnings to the Special Olympics. John's Crazy Socks is committed to the three S's: “Socks, Service, and Special Olympics.”
Ernst and Young recognizes entrepreneurs in the categories of Consumer Products and Retail, Distribution and Manufacturing, Energy and Natural Resources, Life Sciences, Media, Entertainment and Communications, Family Business, and more. Some of last year’s winners include PopSockets LLC, Oportun, and FJ Management Inc. This year’s winners will be announced today, June 20, at a ceremony in Manhattan.