Eight Fascinating Facts About Ingvar Kamprad and IKEA
As furniture subtly crept into our daily lives, a unique entrepreneur from Sweden made life easy for humanity. Kamprad blessed the world with Billy bookshelves, Friheten sofas, Kallax shelf units, Lack side tables and many more. Ingvar Kamprad, the brain behind the outstanding success of IKEA, a furniture-making company, has died at the age of 91.
According to his family, he died “peacefully” in his sleep on January 27, 2018. He left quietly but the echoes of his footsteps as he departed has woken everyone in the neighbourhood.
As the world pay tributes, I am here to share about the ingenuity of a young industrious man who climbed the slippery ladder of wealth with a fortune made from furniture. I am naturally attracted to creative and innovative people – Kamprad, a trailblazer belongs to this clan.
I want to write about the ambience of intelligence and creativity that beam with smiles when you stroll into a store full of IKEA furniture. I want to add letters to the simplicity that flows from the frugal life of the Swedish business magnate and the excellence he left behind for unborn generations.
He molded a company that “cares” about the needs of the common man who can’t do without a piece of furniture. Kamprad started a revolution that has outlived him – you can set-up your furniture (chairs, sofas, wardrobes, cupboards) yourself from a flat-pack in 45 minutes. He pioneered the flat-pack furniture series – an innovation that raised him shoulder high above his competitors.
Here are some interesting facts about the exceptional business tycoon.
The Eight Fascinating Facts
1. Kamprad made his first business deal at age five.
At a young age of five, Kamprad started developing his entrepreneurial skills by selling matches in his village, Smalad. He started this business when he discovered that he could buy matches in bulk at a cheap price from Stockholm and make appreciable profits from sales.
The farm boy with a bicycle at seven traveled to neighbouring fields to sell his matches. He later expanded his line of goods by selling fish, Christmas decorations, ballpoint pens, seeds, and pencils.
2. He started IKEA at age 17.
Kamprad started IKEA in 1943, four years into the bloody World War II. He used some money he got from his father as a gift for performing well at his studies despite his dyslexia. He started out by selling carbon copies of his Uncle Ernst’s kitchen table. Five years later, he diversified his product lines and added furniture. He retired as CEO in 1988 and stepped down from the company’s board in 2013 at the age of 87.
3. Kamprad lived a frugal life.
Despite the success of his company, he was the billionaire with a reputation for penny-pinching and an epitome of extreme frugality. During the inventory of his estate in 2013, it was reported that he had only two cars – a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo 240
. He was known for flying economy class and shopping for second-hand clothes at flea markets.
4. He was the second richest person in Europe.
According to The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the worth of Kamprad before his death was $59billion. At the time of his death, he ranked as the second richest man in Europe behind Amancio Ortega and only seven men were ahead of him on the world map.
5. Kamprad left Sweden so he could pay lower taxes.
In a bid to reduce his taxes, Kamprad left Sweden for Denmark in 1973 and eventually settled for Switzerland in 1976. He lived in Switzerland for 38 years before returning home in 2014.
“Creativity and believing in your work is absolutely a necessary part of success.” – Ingvar Kamprad
Before I conclude, let’s look at some interesting facts about his multi-billion dollar company, IKEA.
The first two letters of IKEA originates from his names – I
ngvar and K
amprad while the two remaining letters came from the name of the farm he grew up, E
lmtaryd, and the nearby village, A
gunnaryd. His love for Sweden can be seen in the two main colors of IKEA which can be found on the Swedish national flag – blue and yellow. He placed Sweden on the world map.
7. IKEA is the world’s largest consumer of wood.
The furniture-making company has grown over the years with a total of 412 stores in 49 countries. To meet the demands of their ever-increasing customers, they munch wood and consumes 1% of the world’s supply of wood
8. IKEA has a store on every continent except South America.
Source: Store locations by continent as at Aug. 2016 (www.ikea.com
In conclusion, this is the story of a young farm boy from the village of Smalad that rose through the ranks of life to become one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Kamprad’s life teaches about the discipline to stay focused on an idea until it blossoms.
It unravels the power of an idea successfully birthed by a visionary leader that understood the essence of consistency. I hope this inspires you to chase success pants down and remain undaunted in the face of challenges until you lay hold of greatness.
Also published on Medium.