The elegant pieces of furniture found in IKEA are a wonder for the eye. Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA’s founder, IKEA is an acronym to derivative from the founder’s initials and hometown. The furniture firm is now an internationally known one that is famous worldwide. The exclusive designs undoubtedly portray an impression of the creative mind behind it.
However, very few people are familiar with the possessor of this immensely successful business. Though people may claim to know the place the brand was established, that is Switzerland, they might be curious to learn about the founder. His name is Feodor Ingvar Kamprad. IKEA is a multinational company retailing high-class and deluxe furniture. He stands on the 8th position in the world of rich men.
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Ingvar Kamprad – IKEA’s Founder
Childhood and Personal life
Ingvar Kamprad was born in Sweden on March 30, 1926. His parents were Feodor Kamprad, who was a German by birth and Berta née Nilsson who was from Sweden. Ingvar married his first wife Kerstin Wadling and together, they had an adopted daughter, Annika.
He married for the second time, Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert, and they had three sons who were heirs to his company. He lived in Switzerland for a while then moved back to Sweden after 40 years.
Early Stages of His Career
Ingvar lived in times of poverty in his country. But he showed remarkable skills in entrepreneurship at a young age. He commenced in business first by selling matches. He later rode on bicycles to gain more customers.
Later, he sold seeds, Christmas tree decorations, fish, and later ballpoint pens and pencils. He was also very good at his education, though he was dyslexic. His father gave him money as a present for his good performance in studies, which he used to start his brand, IKEA, when he was only 17.
Expansion of IKEA
In the early phases of the business, Ingvar sold inexpensive furniture. He was selling replicas of his uncle Ernst’s kitchen table, and later added more furniture form his uncle’s portfolio. The business was mainly done as mail order. Milk trucks were used for delivering products. Then he turned to local manufacturers for sale products. His competitors weren’t happy with his business and began boycotting IKEA, objecting against the low prices.
This leads him to design items in-house. He designed yet simple but innovative furniture that he wanted to reach out to all kinds of people. The strategy that he used to sell products was the cheap price that he believed allowed him to serve the people. Over the years, his business grew bigger and bigger, with several outlets in numerous countries and thousands of employees.
The first store was built in Norway, which leads the company to move to the international market. His revolutionary item was the flat-pack which he made in his warehouses. Thus the basic notion of IKEA was simple, affordable flat-pack furniture, designed and sold in-house.
Into the Riches
Ingvar is one of the richest men in the world. He expanded his wealth from his successful business. The source of this business is his outstanding business skills. After his childhood, he thought of a profitable business to rise his savings. He thought of selling furniture because at that time Sweden had many small furniture factories. The post-war Swedish government built many houses and were ready to give loans for house furnishing during his time.
The business funds were owned by him but not strictly. The working environment was remarkable with little complaints from employees and the work policies were quite neat. Even after his death, the company has the chance to expand even further from the ownership of his sons. Ingvar owned an asset of about $130 million.
However, he faced legal issues and criticisms concerning his business at some time. The company was transferred to Denmark at that time. Kamprad resigned from his post as CEO in 1986 at age 60, at which time Ikea was divided into three separate and independent companies, Inter Ikea Group that controlled intellectual property, Ingka Group which owns retail, and Ikano Group to look after finances and insurance.
The Interogo Foundation was founded later in the 1980s that became the final owner of the Inter Ikea Group. Till resignation, Ingvar looked after the business before the final handover of the power of the company.
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Apart from his huge business, Ingvar lived a quite humble and economical life. He owned an old Volvo, lived in Switzerland for the high taxes in his home country,
only booked flights in economy class, booked cheap hotels to stay, spent reasonably on food and had a modest home. He shopped in flea markets. He claimed to not use his large fortune for his personal life, and that his company’s fortune belonged to charitable funds. However, he never forgot his hard childhood when he had lots of struggles to live. His family had hardships in business and Ingvar worked hard to help. The first customer of his business was his mother.
During his retirement days, he wrote many notable works. The IKEA’s founder first book was a philosophy on prudence and simplicity named, A Testament of a Furniture Dealer in 1976. He also composed an autobiography. Kamprad died from pneumonia while he was asleep at his home in Sweden, on 27 January 2018, when he was 91 years old.
From the life and efforts of IKEA’s founder,Ingvar Kamprad, one learns the necessity of dedication and hard work in one’s profession. Also, money isn’t the biggest thing in life, there is a luxury in living a simple, yet happy life. Ingvar took lessons from his life and used it in his interests to build a successful business. His strategies have certainly allowed him to gain profit, meaning his efforts had some positive outcomes.