The road to success is not an easy one. Working hard, sacrificing conveniences, and walking an obstacle-filled path are all required. Some business owners came from wealthy families. Some have a rags-to-riches story to tell.
Ingvar Kamprad, a Swede, began with very little backing and rose to become one of the world’s wealthiest people.
Ingvar Kamprad founded the furniture retailer IKEA. Ingvar Kamprad’s journey from founding IKEA to representing his country on a worldwide scale is both inspiring and mind-boggling.
Ingvar grew up on a little farm called Elmtaryd in the Swedish district of Smaland. Sweden was experiencing the wrath of poverty at the time; the challenges he endured were a blessing in disguise since he invested all the ideals he learned during these difficult times to build IKEA’s ethos. At the age of six, Ingvar began selling matches.
He began selling Christmas decorations, pencils, and fish when he was ten years old. Despite his dyslexia, Ingvar excelled in school, and his father rewarded him with a little sum of money. Using the funds, he founded IKEA, an abbreviation for Ingvar Kamprad of Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd.
How did it all begin?
Kamprad used milk trucks to deliver his furniture after establishing IKEA. He began selling locally made furniture in 1947.
Ingvar faced harsh criticism in 1955 when manufacturers protested his low prices. This was a watershed moment for the company, as it began to pivot towards flat-pack furniture—furniture or other equipment sold in components packaged flat in a box for simple shipment and assembled by the client. This represented a shift in IKEA’s furniture philosophy.
Ingvar targeted the middle class as IKEA presented affordable and stylish furniture that was easy on the pockets. With his new idea, Ingvar could sell his own brand of furniture and equipment to both rich and poor people at the same time.
Flat packaging reduced shipping costs and transportation damages while expanding shop inventory capacity. Ingvar designed and redesigned IKEA stores to meet the needs of customers.
Ingvar quickly developed his firm throughout Sweden. After a few years, IKEA expanded into Norway, Germany, and eventually all of Europe.
This was the driving force behind the global expansion of IKEA. The opening of an IKEA store in Shanghai, which saw 80,000 visitors, demonstrated how well-received Ingvar’s business was all over the world. IKEA operates approximately 300 locations in 38 countries worldwide.
IKEA opened its first store in Japan in 1974 and in Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong in 1975. In 2010, IKEA expanded into nations such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Belgium, and the Dominican Republic.
The IKEA Foundation:
Ingvar Kamprad is honored by the Stitching INGKA Foundation. This foundation is the sole owner of INGKA Holding, the parent business of all IKEA stores.
This charity was the richest in the world until 2006, when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation became the richest charity in the world. Ingvar served as the chairman of the IKEA Stitching Foundation.
IKEA Australia decided to match coworkers’ donations dollar for dollar and donate all purchases of the IKEA Blue Bag to support people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Being the Wealthiest:
Ingvar was named one of the world’s wealthiest people by a Swedish business magazine in 2004. However, because the magazine assumed Ingvar’s wealth was equivalent to IKEA’s valuation at the time, this was not an appropriate metric.
Ingvar’s fortune was reported to be worth $23 billion USD by Forbes magazine in 2010. Because of a lawsuit that made it so his family couldn’t get to his money, his rank dropped from 11th to 162nd. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ingvar Kamprad was the seventh richest person in the world in 2015, with a net worth of $58.7 billion.
Ingvar was recognized for being simple and thrifty, and his company was noted for giving back to the community. IKEA has actively supported UNICEF and other major United Nations committees.
Swedish Furniture Chain:
IKEA built its first shop outside of Scandinavia in 1973, in Switzerland. IKEA’s expansion established Sweden’s position as a maker of high-quality furniture. The personnel donned jeans, shirts, and jumpers, evoking a more laid-back picture of the Swedish people.
Ingvar was laser-focused on the growth of IKEA. He used to go to IKEA stores until he died. Ingvar was a guy to look up to; he traveled in economy and treated his employees as “coworkers.” He encouraged his employees to wear casual clothing and drove an ancient Volvo.
Regardless of what he stated about fascism, Ingvar will be recognized as one of the twentieth century’s most successful businesspeople. His simplicity and passion exemplify how a true leader should guide his team.
Ingvar has shown that nothing is impossible by starting a business while living in poverty. He died in 2018, leaving behind a corporation that transformed the furniture industry.