Yusuf Taiyoob: Here Are 8 Facts About The Man Who Made The Iconic Ramadan Whisper

Did you know his best-selling dates are named after his children?

Cover image via Mohd Izwan/The Edge & Free Malaysia Today

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Ramadan is just around the corner and, without fail, we shall hear whispers of the most delicious dates from the Middle East...

Image via Quick Meme

We know the brand. But who exactly is Yusuf Taiyoob?

Here are a few facts about the man who made a name for himself as the 'King of Dates' in Malaysia:

1. Datuk Seri Yusuf Taiyoob is a born and bred Malaysian

He was born in Tanjung Bungah, Penang on 23 December 1958.

According to The Edge, Yusuf is the eldest of four siblings and was raised in a traditional shophouse near George Town, where his current office is not far from.

2. He has no formal background in marketing or business

He furthered his studies in medicine in India, but decided to quit to run his own business back home.

3. The self-made entrepreneur's success did not come overnight

At the young age of 19, Yusuf started and failed his first business of selling perfumes at the Bayan Lepas International Airport in 1977.

He then tried selling cosmetics under a business called Yusuf Cosmetics in 1979, but that also failed within two years.

4. In all his ventures though, Yusuf said he believes in the quality of his products and good customer rapport

Yusuf told The Star that over the years, with minimal capital but steady persistence, he used whatever available resources he had to start another business.

This time, he sold nuts and spices such as cashew nuts and saffron, and soon started getting loyal customers. Based on their feedback, he slowly added other specialty food products to his catalogue.

5. In 1988, he could finally set up a company. It was registered in his own name — Yusuf Taiyoob Sdn Bhd.

And it has only grown since. Yusuf Taiyoob is now well-known locally and internationally for importing dried fruits and nuts, dates, honey, bakery ingredients, spices, beans, herbal soaps, and many other foodstuffs.

The company's giant storage and distribution facility is located at Bukit Minyak in Seberang Prai, which can accommodate up to 7,000 metric tonnes of food products. 

Image via Yusuf Taiyoob

6. His best-selling dates are named after his three children — Waseem, Safiya, and Safina

Besides the popular ones, the company distributes over 30 other varieties of dates to the whole of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.

The dates are imported from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Dubai and Egypt, among others.

Image via Shopee

7. Yusuf really strategised for the whisper to become synonymous with dates and Ramadan

While he admitted he was lucky the advertisement was so well-received, Yusuf told The Edge in an interview that when creating it, he wanted something different and catchy, not just another jingle.

The ingenious businessman added that he does not use the advertisement for any other purpose or product, so customers will only ever associate the whisper with dates and Ramadan.

8. Yusuf was conferred the title of Datuk by the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Penang, Tun Dr Abdul Rahman Abbas, in 2002

The successful businessman has also since been awarded the title of Datuk Seri in 2014.

Not forgetting his roots, he often gives back to the state every year during the fasting month.

Yusuf presenting RM84,000 in cash and 200 cartons of dates to be distributed to mosques and suraus in Penang in 2019.

Image via Ramdzan Masiam/New Straits Times

Lastly, here is the advertisement that started it all:

Thanks for the delicious dates and catchy ad, Yusuf Taiyoob!

Here is why dates are an essential part of breaking fast during Ramadan:

Check out these other inspiring Malaysians here:

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