The man behind Candy People

Joanis Masudi Youssef - The man behind Candy People 

Joanis Masudi Youssef was born in Nineve, a province between Irak and Syria. His parents fled from the the genocide in 1915 and 1940. He was the oldest of four siblings. His mother was a housewife and his dad worked as a customs officer. As a young man, Joanis had a lot of responsibility in the family and every summer until he was 20 years old he worked as a carpenter. At 11-year-old he already had 7 employees, 2 whom were 40 years old.

The whole family was forced to flee to Baghdad in 1960. During this time, Joanis was 20 years old and with his skills in carpentry, he worked between 1960-1963 as a carpenter just to help support the family. At that time, Iraq began to flourish, but in the midst of this, the president was overthrown and murdered, which made Joanis more interested in democracy. He became politically active and began fighting for democracy in 1963, at the age of 23. He was arrested and tortured for 6 months. But fortunately he managed to escape when they were carrying prisoners between different detention centers. He jumped off the truck on the move but was shot in the arm, but survived. After that he stayed underground until there was a new coup in Iraq in 1964. After the coup he started working as a meat wholesaler. He opened a small shop where he sold everything from meat, carpets and appliance. The entrepreneur in him finally came back.

In 1967 he became politically active again, but in February 1970 the authorities became very aggressive and put a lot of pressure on Joanis. He found out that they were going to arrest and hang him, so he got in a car and left Iraq to flee to Syria. This was the last time he ever saw his dad. He stayed in Syria for 6 months until he received a scholarship in Warsaw where he began to study to be an archeologist. In Poland he stayed until 1979. He tried to learn Polish and Russian to start a new life and earn money to take his family there. But life had other plans for him. Joanis went to Stockholm to visit some friends and met his future wife there so packed his bags and moved to Sweden. They later got 2 children, Jacob and Anna, who both still work with Candy People. 

At last Joanis had found a place where he felt safe. A country where everyone had rights and is ruled by democracy. He saw an advertisement in the newspaper about a candy store in Malmö for sale and the entrepreneur in him came back to life. After scrambling and borrowing money from the family, he bought Babylon Candy at Möllan in Malmö for SEK 20,000, around $2000. This is where the journey began of Candy People began.