Denomination: Church of Sweden
What concerns his education, Kamprad had never studied business literature - he had learnt through his own eхperience.
His first trade deals were made in school (that he attended) by acquiring bulk pencils and matches, and then reselling them to his classmates at more expensive price. Kamprad put off these earnings. While his school friends were playing football and were dating girls, Ingvar Kamprad was thinking about how to expand his business. And at the age of 15, adding capital money borrowed from his father to his earnings ( however, his father was convinced that he gave money to study), Kamprad launched his own firm.
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.
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.
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.
- Leading by Design: The IKEA Story
- Kamprad worked with Swedish journalist Bertil Torekull on this book and he describes his philosophies and the trials and triumphs of the founding of IKEA in it.
It was our duty to expand. Those who cannot or will not join us are to be pitied. What we want to do, we can do and will do, together. A glorious future!
Ingvar Kamprad - Growth - Partnership - Ambition
We ought to have more women in various management positions, because women are the ones who decide almost everything in the home.
Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.
Ingvar Kamprad - Mistakes
You can do so much in 10 minutes' time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good.. Divide your life into 10-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.
Ingvar Kamprad - Time - Action - Life
Everything we earn we need as a reserve.
I'm not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don't have time for dying.
I'm stingy and I'm proud of the reputation.
If there is a such thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the IKEA employees.
IKEA people do not drive flashy cars and stay at luxury hotels.
Our idea is to serve everybody, including people with little money.
People say I'm cheap, and I don't mind if they do.
New Swedish Movement , Sweden
In 1994, the personal letters of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl were made public after his death, and it was revealed that Kamprad had joined Engdahl's pro-fascist New Swedish Movement (Nysvenska Rörelsen) in 1942, at the age of 16. Kamprad had raised funds for and recruited members to said group at least as late as September 1945. When Kamprad quit the group is unknown, but he remained a friend of Engdahl until the early 1950s. Kamprad devotes two chapters to his time in Nysvenska Rörelsen in his book Leading by Design: The IKEA Story and, in a 1994 letter to IKEA employees, called his affiliation with the organization the "greatest mistake of his life".Kamprad has explained his teenage engagement in New Swedish Movement as being politically influenced by his father and grandmother in Sudet-Germany. In 2011, journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink revealed that the Swedish security service created a file on Kamprad already in 1943 titled "Nazi" and that Kamprad in an interview in 2010 told her: "Per Engdahl is a great man, and I will maintain that as long as I live". Writing in UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph in August 2011, Richard Orange noted of the 1943 file: "It proves for the first time that Mr Kamprad was an active member of Svensk Socialistisk Samling – the successor to the Swedish Nationalist Socialist Workers Party – even detailing his membership number, 4013. It quotes letters intercepted from Mr Kamprad, then 17, in which he enthuses about recruiting new members and says that he ‘misses no opportunity to work for the movement’". Orange added, "The secret service concluded that, as Mr Kamprad received the party's youth newspaper, he must have held ‘some sort of official position within the organisation’." The following day, the BBC reported: "A Swedish expert on far-right extremism, Anna-Lena Lodenius, told Radio Sweden that Mr Kamprad's Nazi involvement could no longer be dismissed as the by-product of an accidental friendship with Per Engdahl. His involvement in another fascist organisation, she said, showed he must have been ‘perfectly aware’ of what it stood for". The BBC report also noted that, "a spokesman for Mr Kamprad said he had long admitted flirting with fascism, but that now, ‘there are no Nazi-sympathising thoughts in Ingvar's head whatsoever’".
Kamprad has a reputation of being frugal, stingy and cheap 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.
“How the hell can I ask people who work for me to travel cheaply if I am traveling in luxury?”
According to an interview with TSR, the French-language Swiss TV broadcaster, Kamprad drives a 1993 Volvo 240, flies only economy class, and encourages IKEA employees always to write on both sides of a piece of paper.
He reportedly recycles tea bags and is known to pocket the salt and pepper packets at restaurants.
" In addition, Kamprad has been known to visit IKEA for a "cheap meal".
He is known for purchasing Christmas paper and presents in post-Christmas sales.
The firm he created is still known for the attention it gives to cost control, operational details and continuous product development, allowing it to lower its prices by an average of 2-3% over the decade to 2010, while continuing its global expansion.
Kamprad explains his social philosophy in his "Testament of a Furniture Dealer": "It is not only for cost reasons that we avoid the luxury hotels. We don't need flashy cars, impressive titles, uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our strength and our will!
In reality, Forbes has ranked Kamprad on the list of the world's affluent people for many years.
In 1950 Kamprad tied the knot to Kerstin Wadling, later they adopted a daughter, Annika Kihlbom. In 1960, Ingvar and Kerstin were divorced.
In 1963, Kamprad married his second wife, Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert, who died from an undisclosed disease in 2011. The children from this matrimony are Jonas Kamprad, Mathias Kamprad, Peter Kamprad.