John’s Crazy Socks expects to grow sales and employment after reaching a wholesale deal to sell its signature socks through online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com.
The Melville-based e-commerce company has partnered with longtime Amazon subsidiary Zappos to sell a selection of socks that promote inclusivity and awareness for individuals with Down syndrome and autism. The socks are being sold through its Zappos Adaptive line, a section of the retailer’s website where customers with disabilities can find accessible clothing items.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to expand our business,” said Mark X. Cronin, who co-founded John’s Crazy Socks along with his son John, who has Down syndrome. Their company sells some 4,000 sock designs.
The socks being sold on Zappos are part of the local firm's awareness socks line, which come in a variety of bright, colorful designs with sayings like "Rockin Down syndrome" or "Autism Awareness." The company is also selling socks promoting animal rescue and adoption featuring cartoon dogs and cats.
John's Crazy Socks designs their awareness socks in house, with John being the creator of the Down syndrome socks sold on Zappos.
Most of the company's more than 4,000 socks on its site come from different manufacturers, though the company plans to begin selling their own designs as part of an upcoming wholesale line later this year, Cronin said. The socks the company designs are produced by contract manufacturers in the U.S., Philippines and China.
Ten percent of each sale goes to specific charities, including the National Down Syndrome Society, Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS) in Plainview, North Shore Animal League America and the Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society of America.
Before reaching a deal with Zappos, Cronin said the 5-year old company had focused almost entirely on selling directly to customers through its own website, with some occasional custom work for other businesses.
Cronin said that in 2021 revenue grew by 47% but did not provide specific sales figures.
“We expect certainly by the holiday season that the Zappos job alone will lead us to create additional positions,” he said.
The company has 34 employees, 22 of whom have some type of disability, he said.
Cronin declined to say how much revenue the deal would bring to the sock business, but that he anticipated the new wholesale business would likely account for 20% of sales by the end of the year.
Zappos first approached the Long Island company several months ago after learning about them on social media, said Dana Zumbo, business development manager at Zappos Adaptive.
“We instantly knew they’d be a great fit for the Zappos Adaptive shopping experience because of the company’s authentic, passionate social mission,” Zumbo said in a statement.
“The fact that we get to support this business’ cause while giving our customers even more fun ways to express their unique style is a win-win,” Zumbo said.
Zumbo said that the sales agreement, which started in February, helps grow its Adaptive sales arm by offering products that bring awareness about those with disabilities.
“The awareness of inclusion in the fashion industry has grown significantly over the last five years,” Zumbo said. “There’s still a huge demand for more brands to create universally designed products that work for people with disabilities.”
Following this first step into wholesaling, the sock merchant is already in talks with some high-profile brick-and-mortar retailers with plans to expand the company’s reach, Cronin said.
“We’re in a few conversations that are pretty far along with other retailers. The plan is to be in other stores by October,” he said.
Founded in 2016, John's Crazy Socks was started when Cronin and his son created a Facebook page to market a business that sold colorful socks with the mission of spreading happiness to customers.
Since then, the company has grown through aggressive social media marketing with John as the face of the business. Over the years Cronin and his son have been invited to testify before Congress and the United Nations.
The company will be moving from its current headquarters, located at 40 Republic Rd. in Melville, to a larger property in Farmingdale, part of its expansion efforts.
Cronin said the new warehouse space is 60% larger than their current facility and will allow them to meet customer demand going forward.
“We’re very excited. We need more space to handle the growth we’ve had, which is a good issue,” Cronin said.