Many people hear the name Ingvar Kamprad and they have no idea who this man is. If you mention the name IKEA, however, just about everyone has heard of that. Ingvar Kamprad is the man who founded IKEA. If you are unfamiliar with IKEA as well, it is a Swedish retail company who specializes in furniture. If you want to know more about the man behind the company, read on. There are many things about this man that you may not know.
Ingvar Kamprad's Early Life
Ingvar was born on March 20, 1926, in Pjatteryd, Sweden. Today, his birthplace is part of Almhult Municipality. His paternal grandfather was born in Germany, and he moved his family to Sweden later. Ingvar's father loved living in Sweden, and he purchased a farm, which Ingvar was raised on.
How Ingvar Got Started in Business
Ingvar Kamprad got his start when he was a very young boy. His very first business venture was selling matches to his neighbors on his bicycle. He realized that he could buy matches from Stockholm in bulk for a low price. He could later sell them individually at a low price and still make money. When he succeeded selling matches, he branched out to selling Christmas decoration, fish, and seeds. Later, he started to sell pens and pencils.
Early Financing for IKEA
Throughout the years that Ingvar was selling his products to people in his town, he barely spent any of the money that he earned. When he was 17 years old, his father gave him a cash reward for doing so well in school. He took the money from his sales and from his father and started the business.
Where Did Ingvar Come Up With the Name IKEA?
Ingvar understood that he needed to come up with a catchy name for his business, but he also wanted it to mean something to him. The name IKEA comes from his initials, IK for Ingvar Kamprad. The E comes from the name of his family farm where he was born, Elmtayrd, and the A comes from the village near his family farm, Ahunnaryd. In the end, you get IKEA. The name was everything that he wanted, something catchy and something that meant something to him.
Where Was IKEA Born?
IKEA was actually born at Ingvar's kitchen table in 1943. In 1948, he branched out into furniture. In the beginning, most of the business was mail-order. Customers received catalogs in the mail and he sent them their merchandise.
Ingvar's Written Word Became His Business Model
While Ingvar was a very private person, he published some of his thoughts. In 1976, he detailed all of his thoughts on being simple, and frugal. He turned his thoughts into a manifesto which he called, A Testament of a Furniture Dealer. His works were considered to be the concept of IKEA. It was all about what the company was supposed to be and what values he wanted to integrate into the business.
He Helped Create IKEA's Autobiography
Ingvar sat down with a Swedish journalist named Bertil Toredull and the two of them created Leading on Design:The IKEA Story. The book was basically an autobiography about Ingvar and how he created IKEA. It told the stories of the problems he ran into and his triumphs. It outlined his philosophy on furniture and business. Anyone who wants to know the real story about Ingvar and IKEA will get all of the information that they need in this book.
He Is Worth Billions But Doesn't Live Like It
Since he was a child, Ingvar didn't believe in being a big spender. This is how he was able to save the money that he made when he was a boy to start his company. When he flies, he always flies coach. He believes that first class is a waste of money. When he travels by train, he will only sit in a second-class train car. When he stays in a hotel, he never stays in the most expensive ones. He will find a modest room at a good rate and he will be happy with that. He believes that you can travel without spending too much money.
Some Call Him Cheap, He Calls Himself Frugal
It is not just traveling that Ingvar refuses to spend money on. According to an interview with a Swiss television station, he drives a 1933 Volvo 240. He recycles his tea bags and uses them again and again. When he eats at a fast food restaurant, he pockets the salt and pepper packets so that he doesn't need to buy these products at home. He waits until after Christmas to buy his gifts and wrapping paper because that is when the big sales start.
He even encourages his IKEA employees to always use both sides of a piece of paper.Since is is so frugal, you wouldn't think that he would have lost money, but he did. Ingvar kamprad's net worth last year was $23 billion, and according to Forbes Magazine, it is now down to $6 billion after intentionally losing $17 billion.
Ingvar's first wife's name was Kerstin Wadling. The could adopted a daughter and named her Annika. His first marriage failed, and in the 1960's, he married his second wife. Her name was Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert, and she was 20 years old when they married. The couple had three sons, Mathias, Peter, and Jonas. His wife passed away in 2011. Early in his career, Ingvar became an alcoholic. In 2004, he stopped drinking.
According to an interview with a Swiss television station, he was happy that he got his drinking under control before he lost his wife in 2011. He stated that she put up with more than any wife should while his alcoholism got out of control. When he quit drinking in 2004, he has 7 years sober with his wife before he passed. He said that those 7 years were the best of his life.
Ingvar Kamprad created a furniture empire. He started as a salesman at a very young age, and in 2013, he resigned from the IKEA's board. When he decided to retire and he left his son's in charge to take over where he left off. He says that they understand his vision and his philosophy, so he knows that IKEA is in good hands.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker