John Cronin is a little different from your average business owner.
For one thing, Cronin is just 21 years old. He's also incredibly successful, since his company made $1.7 million last year. And, of course, Cronin was born with Down syndrome.
Cronin says his condition "never holds me back," and his heart has been set on running a business since he was in high school.
The budding entrepreneur from Long Island thought about being a store owner, then settled on running a food truck. He told Today the only problem was he couldn't cook.
"[Me and my dad] are good at eating," he said.
Finally, Cronin took inspiration from his lifelong love of colorful wool socks, which his brothers like to tease him about.
“They are not the fashion police," Cronin says. "I love all the socks that are very very colorful and let me be me.”
In that spirit, Cronin founded John's Crazy Socks in 2016. The business was simple: just a website, a logo, and socks bought wholesale from other companies that Cronin ships to customers.
The business's catchphrase, "Socks, socks, and more socks," was Cronin's idea.
But he and his father Mark couldn't have guessed how successful their business would become.
As soon as John's Crazy Socks opened for business, the online store struggled to keep its products in stock.
The company made 1,000 sales in just two months, and after being featured on local news the company was swamped with even more demand. By the end of last year, Cronin had shipped sold 42,000 orders and made nearly $2 million.
But there's more than a feel-good story behind this company's success.
Cronin uses his love of funky socks to pick out the online store's more than 1,500 designs, which range from celebrities and zodiac symbols to weird patterns. Many of the styles are also available as diabetic or compression socks.
And Cronin has been paying his success forward. He's hired a team of employees who also have disabilities, to show "what people with disabilities can do if you give them a chance."
The store also sells special designs to raise money for conditions like autism and Williams syndrome, while 5% of every sale is donated to the Special Olympics.
Cronin's business is continuing to grow, and no one is more impressed than his father, Mark. “John is a role model," he says. "We want to show what’s possible.”
This awesome business deserves more attention!