Childhood & Early Life
Kamprad was born on 30th March, 1926, in Pjätteryd, Sweden, and grew up in the Älmtaryd (formerly known as Elmtaryd) region of Ljungby Municipality.
He had a good sense of trading from a very childhood and as a young boy, he calculated that he could make a profit by purchasing matches in huge amount and vending them individually. This was his first business venture and later, he traded in fish, seeds, pencils, pens and even decorative pieces.
He was also good at studies and as a prize for getting good scores Ingvar’s father presented him with a sum of money. Soon after, he came up with the idea of establishing a startup company.
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In 1943, the venture was launched with the name ‘IKEA’ which was coined with the initials of his name, his family’s farm Elmtaryd and the neighbouring village Agunnaryd.
Starting off with a mail-order mode of business dealing in small stuffs like wallets, photo frames, stockings and pens, this company is the largest furniture retailer of the world in present day.
During the same time, he was engaged with the group ‘New Swedish Movement’ (Nysvenska Rörelsen), which was led by fascist leader Per Engdahl. Later, in his life Kamprad said that his political involvement in his teenage was owing to his grandmother’s and father’s influences.
He expanded his startup company ‘IKEA’ in 1948, by including furniture in its assortment. From small order deliveries, the company then transported their goods through trucks and through cargoes in train.
The company earned good name in the furniture trade and by 1950, ‘IKEA’ was transformed into a company which dealt only in furniture.
With the immense success of the mail-ordering business, the founder realized the need of a showroom and following this decision, an ‘IKEA’ showroom was inaugurated in Almhult in and around 1953.
In the following years, he tried to cater to the needs of the customers and at the same time, moulded his business in such a way which would earn him profits.
With the rising popularity which the company gained, infuriated the rival companies and they made tried to stop the supply of materials to the company by Swedish traders. Ingvar then bought materials from other countries and also built their own commodities.
In 1956, this accomplished entrepreneur came up the idea of ‘ready-to-assemble furniture’ also known as the ‘flat pack furniture’ which became a benchmark in the world of furniture. This furniture is sold in a dissembled package with instructions on its assembling.
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These furniture guaranteed to reduce storage area as well as shipping charges and did not require expertise to assemble them. This helped him reduce the financial input in the business and even made it easy for the customers to arrange the goods themselves.
In 1965, the company started its first customer retail warehouse in Stockholm, and ever since the company has been expanding its business far and wide.
In 1982, he founded the charitable organization ‘Stichting INGKA Foundation’ and Ingvar is presently, the chairman of the foundation.
Over the next fifty decades the company encountered huge expansion in business and till date has around 300 showrooms all over the world.
The company launched into a new business venture in the year 2000, by making their commodities available for sale on the internet. This means they now have an online store and this has boundless prospects for the expansion of business.
The catalogue of the ‘IKEA’ furniture are printed in bulk quantities and by 2009, they had their catalogue had to be published in over twenty languages. This shows that the company has customers who belong to varied regions of the world.
He resigned from his position as a board member of the ‘Inter IKEA Holding SA’ in 2013
Personal Life & Legacy
His married Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert in 1963, and reportedly she was his second. However, details about his first wife are unavailable.
He is the father of four children named Jonas Kamprad, Peter Kamprad, Annika KIhlbom and Mathias Kamprad.
During his business venture in Poland, he developed an addiction to alcohol. However, in 2004, he was quoted saying that he has controlled his drinking habits.
He is the author of the book ‘A Testament of a Furniture Dealer’, and the co-author of ‘Leading by Design: The IKEA Story’ along with journalist Bertil Torekull.