Ingvar Kamprad 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.
is relatively private, Kamprad
is well known as a successful entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Born 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.
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 pencils.
At the age of 17, Kamprad's father gave him money as a reward for his
success in school.
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.
was focused on selling goods that consumers needed, but at a discount.
worked mostly on his
own as a mobile retailer making individual sales calls.
In 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
business to include furniture by local manufacturers and within four years IKEA
removed all other products from their catalog and focused primarily on furniture.
With 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.
was able to sell furniture for lower prices due to the money saved through cheaper storage and shipping.
Over the next few years, Ingvar Kamprad
continued turning unique consumer needs into retail opportunities for his
Although smaller stores opened a few years prior, Kamprad
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.
The 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
In reality, Forbes
has ranked Kamprad
on the list of the world's wealthiest people for many years.
For 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
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