John’s Crazy Socks: A Family Business
by Tim Healy
Supporting a great social cause isn’t just the right thing to do – it can make for great business as well. My guests today know this better than anyone. This father-son duo is making waves around the world for their fun products and mission of making the world a better place. They are Mark and John Cronin of John’s Crazy Socks.
John’s Crazy Socks is one of the world’s largest sock dealers, and their goal is to raise awareness of Down Syndrome to people everywhere. Their mission is simple: sell happiness one pair of socks at a time.
Going into Business
At 2:10, John discusses his desire to go into business with his father. In 2016, he was in his last year of school and deciding on what was next. There weren’t many good choices for people with different abilities, and it seemed like a no brainer to partner with his dad.
Why Sell Socks?
To just anyone, the choice to sell socks may not make much sense. Listen at 5:30 to hear John and Mark speak about how they made the decision. After considering opening a fun store or running a food truck, they chose to sell something that John was already passionate about – self expression and crazy socks!
A Test of the Market
After John and Mark decided to sell socks, they did what any entrepreneur would do and created a business, right? Not exactly. At 8:00, Mark discusses the choice to test out the market instead of going the typical business route. The two started a website, got some inventory, and did their own marketing with a Facebook page and videos starring John. They took the idea they were passionate about and ran with it.
It’s more than just socks. John’s Crazy Socks operates under one clear mission: spread happiness. Listen at 9:55 to hear more about the company’s social mission, and how it helps them stand out in the market. A customer shopping for socks not only gets to express him or herself, but they also get to make the world a little better with a purchase. Each purchase allows John and Mark to give more opportunities to individuals living with disabilities.
Getting Behind the Why
It’s simply not enough to sell things. At 12:00, John and Mark discuss how important it was to let their “why” be known. If all they did was sell socks, they would be nothing more than another store. What makes them different is the connection they have with customers. People get behind the “why.”
A Presidential Connection
Having a loyal customer base is essential to a company’s success. Listen at 13:40 to hear John discuss a very special connection he shared with a former President. In 2017, John and Mark sent socks to President George H.W. Bush. Bush became a big fan of the company, and when he placed another order, John sent along his Down Syndrome Superhero socks. President Bush wore these on World Down Syndrome Day (March 21st), and tweeted his support for his good friend John.
The connection lasted beyond just one pair of socks! When former First Lady Barbara Bush died, John sent President Bush a pair of the special literacy socks. Literacy was a cause that Mrs. Bush supported. President Bush wore these socks at his wife’s memorial service. In her memory, John and Mark renamed the sock the Barbara Bush Socks for Literacy.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my interview with John and Mark, where we discuss the business side of John’s Crazy Socks.
If you liked my interview with John and Mark, you can download more episodes of The Profit Express to help you on the road to success.