The IKEA story is one of phenomenal success that grew from an amazing starting point. IKEA now has over 200 stores in 31 countries, employing over 75,000 people and generating over 12 billion in sales annually.
But who could have guessed that a young boy would have built a business of this magnitude by starting selling matches to his neighbours. This is exactly what Ingvar Kamprad the founder of IKEA did.
The name IKEA was formed from Kamprad’s initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.
Kamprad was born in Sweden in 1926 and raised on a farm called Elmtaryd, near the village of Agunnaryd. At an early age, he found he could buy matches in bulk from Stockholm and sell them at a fair price, yet earning a good profit. He kept reinvested his profits and expanded his business.
He began selling a variety of goods, including fish, seeds, Christmas tree decorations, wallets, watches, jewellery, stockings and pens. Anything he could buy at a low price and resell for a profit. Furniture was added to the product line in 1947.
He sourced this furniture from local manufacturers which enabled him to keep his costs down. The furniture was incredibly successful, and in 1951, Kamprad decided to discontinue all other product lines and focus just on his furniture business.
In 1953, the first IKEA showroom opened. The showroom allowed people to see it, touch it, feel it, and be sure of the quality before buying. Anyone that has visited one of their showrooms know how innovative they are, as are many of their products. My first coffee table came from IKEA, and my first gym was furnished with IKEA lounge furniture in our relaxation area. Being the avid reader that I am, with the huge collection of books that I have collected over the years, to me IKEA is synonymous with bookcases.
I read his biography and I am sure the book, like his story is one that could inspire anyone on their entrepreneurial journey. Leading By Design is about the inspiring ideas and innovations that make a business work. It worked for him in a big way.
His number one rule of success is that nothing is impossible
In 1955, IKEA began to design its own furniture as a means to be more competitive. They introduced what they have truly become known for and that was flat pack furniture.
Kamprad’s vision has been the driving force behind IKEA’s success, and it all started with his match business as a little boy. . Kamprad is a rags to riches story and he is someone that has always appreciated a frugal living lifestyle.
SO to me Kamprad is a shining example of someone who has the right ethos in life who can through hard work and belief achieve success.
Let him be an example to you!