Starting a Purpose-Led Business: John’s Crazy Socks
by Tim Healy
Standing for a cause is more than just the right thing to do. Choosing to run a purpose-led business can lead you to great success. My guests today have turned their cause into a multi-million dollar company. They are Mark and John Cronin, the father-and-son duo behind John’s Crazy Socks.
John’s Crazy Socks is one of the largest sock dealers in the world today. Their goal is to raise awareness of Down Syndrome to individuals everywhere. Their mission? Sell happiness, one pair of socks at a time.
If you missed part 1 of my interview with Mark and John, you can listen to it here.
Growing Their Sales Numbers
While John’s Crazy Socks was not started with a business plan like other companies are, they have seen a great amount of success since starting in 2016. At 1:40, Mark and John discuss how their choice to form a purpose-led business has shaped how they run things. Their success starts with the “why” of who they are and what they do. With each order, a customer receives a handwritten thank you from John, discount cards, candy, and other treats. You don’t just get socks: you get a dose of happiness with your order.
John’s Crazy Socks has been fortunate with media coverage and many viral events over the years. A BBC1 News video garnered more than 44 million views, leading to a massive increase in the number of orders the company received. You simply cannot buy this kind of coverage.
The Problem with “Going Viral”
Many companies dream of going viral. However, as Mark explains at 10:00, it can come with a price. John’s Crazy Socks was not prepared for the sudden explosion in orders they faced in the spring of 2018. When summer came around, and demand decreased, they found themselves with an overload of product.
A Workforce Advantage
More than half of the employees at John’s Crazy Socks have a differing ability. Listen at 11:45, where Mark discusses how this practice has set the company apart and helped them succeed. Every employee has to be a cultural fit and pass a sock wrangler test to get the job. The fact that they only hire people with differing abilities has given them an advantage in a difficult Long Island job market.
The “Secret Handshake”
What sets John’s Crazy Socks apart from other companies? At 19:30, John and Mark discuss what they view as their secret.
In their words, “you have to believe.” Their focus is on making a personal connection to show they care about their customers. Whether it involves making in-person deliveries or sending candy with each order, they do all they can to show that they care. They practice an age old philosophy in any business: if you take care of people, they will take care of you.
The Surprise of Their Success
Listen at 21:45 where Mark discusses that while they didn’t expect this much success, nothing is a surprise anymore. Part of the mission of John’s Crazy Socks is advocacy. They have already grown this purpose-led business to more than they ever thought possible, and have even been called to testify before Congress twice as a result of their success.
There is nothing John and Mark do that is too innovative. They are confident in the belief that if they can do this, anyone can.
What Does the Future Hold?
Mark and John have already achieved so much with John’s Crazy Socks. But where will the future take them?
At 26:25, they discuss their goals for social causes. They want to reach as many people as possible to show just what they can do. A big goal is to open a warehouse store and adjoining café, where they can give more tours, both virtually and in person. While they have ideas that some may think are crazy, at this point, they know that nothing is impossible.
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.