founded IKEA, an international retailer
of home furnishings that reinvented parts
of the consumer market in the 1950s. Kamprad
is also the chairman of the Stichting
INGKA Foundation, a charitable foundation
that also owns the parent company to IKEA.
Although he is relatively private, Kamprad
is well known as a successful entrepreneur
and one of the wealthiest people in the
on March 30, 1926, Ingvar Feodor Kamprad
grew up near Agunnaryd, Sweden on a small
farm called Elmtaryd. As a young boy Kamprad
developed a business buying matches at
wholesale in Stockholm and selling them
for a profit to his neighbors in the municipality
of Ljungby. He realized he could still
make a good profit even if he sold the
matches at a considerable discount. The
potential was enormous and Kamprad quickly
grew his business to include Christmas
decorations, seeds, fish, and pens and
the age of 17, Kamprad's father gave him
money as a reward for his success in school.
Ingvar Kamprad used the money to fund
a retail business named IKEA (an acronym
that included his own initials plus those
of the farm on which he grew up and the
name of the nearby town of Agunnaryd).
The original IKEA focused mostly on selling
small household goods like wallets, picture
frames, jewelry, nylon stockings and pens.
Kamprad was focused on selling goods that
consumers needed, but at a discount. He
worked mostly on his own as a mobile retailer
making individual sales calls.
1945, two years after starting IKEA, Ingvar
Kamprad began advertising his business
in local papers and using milk trucks
to help deliver his goods. The trucks
could not only deliver to homes, but also
the local train station. By 1947 he expanded
his business to include furniture by local
manufacturers and within four years IKEA
removed all other products from their
catalog and focused primarily on furniture.
pressure from competitors, Kamprad decided
to open a furniture showroom in Almhult
in 1953 to give consumers the ability
to see and experience furniture prior
to ordering. By 1955, however, furniture
manufacturers began boycotting IKEA due
to competitor pressure, forcing Kamprad
to begin creating designs specifically
for IKEA. Shortly thereafter, storage
and prices drove the company to create
furniture that consumers could assemble.
Ingvar Kamprad was able to sell furniture
for lower prices due to the money saved
through cheaper storage and shipping.
the next few years, Ingvar Kamprad continued
turning unique consumer needs into retail
opportunities for his company. Although
smaller stores opened a few years prior,
Kamprad opened his first consumer retail
warehouse in Stockholm in 1965 with an
impressive 45,800 square feet of retail
space. Within twenty years he expanded
the store to countries around the world,
finally expanding to over 114 stores in
25 countries worldwide.
majority of IKEA stores are now owned
by the privately operated Stichting INGKA
Foundation, a charitable organization
designed to promote architectural and
design innovations. Kamprad acts as the
founder and chairman of the foundation.
is well known for his frugality despite
his acquisition of properties and estates
throughout Europe. Kamprad's public persona
of frugality is part of his publicity
for IKEA and a means to set an example
for the employees of his company. In reality,
Forbes has ranked Kamprad on the list
of the world's wealthiest people for many
a brief period in his life, Ingvar Kamprad
was pro-Nazi and has since publicly apologized
for his involvement and even wrote letters
to employees acknowledging his mistakes.
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