Swede Ingvar Kamprad, founder of furniture retail chain IKEA-min
Founder Ingvar Kamprad, who founded multinational retail company specialising in furniture, IKEA was a Swedish business magnate. Kamprad passed away last month at the age of 91. By then IKEA owned and operated 411 stores in 49 countries. Today the company is responsible for approximately 1% of world commercial-product wood consumption, making it one of the largest users of wood in the retail sector.
IKEA is known for its modernist designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity. In addition, the firm is known for its attention to cost control, operational details, and continuous product development, corporate attributes that allowed IKEA to lower its prices by an average of two to three percent over the decade to 2010 during a period of global expansion.
Kamprad’s was not a rags-to-riches story as his family is known to be wealthy estate owners since 19th century. But the way Kamprad grew up to become one of the wealthiest persons in the world is remarkable and worth emulating. Do you know at what age Kamprad started his business career?
Kamprad began to develop a business as a young boy and he started selling matches at the age of five and by seven he had started expanding his business for which he began travelling further afield on his bicycle to sell to neighbours. He found he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, sell them individually at a low price, and still make a good profit. From matches, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and later ballpoint pens and pencils.
In 1943, when he was 17, Kamprad founded IKEA in Sweden, selling replicas of his uncle Ernst’s kitchen table. In 1948, Kamprad diversified his portfolio, adding furniture. His business was mostly mail order. The acronym IKEA is made up of the initials of his name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus those of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was born, and the nearby village Agunnaryd where he was raised.