Ikea announced today through Instagram the death of its founder, Ingvar Kamprad. "The founder of Ikea and one of the most important entrepreneurs of the twentieth century, Ingvar Kamprad, has died at age 91," they explained in their post. As they reported, he died Sunday, January 28, "calmly at home in southern Sweden." Currently, Ikea is the largest furniture sales company in the world, with business figures of 36 million euros, 190,000 employees and establishments in 49 countries. But the beginnings of its founder were very humble.
Born in 1926 in Småland, south of Sweden, Ingvar Kamprad grew up in Elmtaryd, a farm near the village of Agunnaryd. From a very young age, the Swede showed his entrepreneurial spirit and, when he was five years old, he started selling matches to his neighbors. At seven, he expanded his sales area mounted on his bicycle. He realized that he could buy matches in bulk and at a very low price in Stockholm and then sell them at retail prices also at low prices but making a good profit. The sale of matches complemented it with that of seeds, postcards, ornaments for Christmas trees, and later, pens and pens. At 17, his father gave him money for the good results he gets in his studies and Ingvar uses that money to start his own business that he will name IKEA by his initials (I.K.), plus the first letters of his farm, Elmtaryd (E), and from his city, Agunnaryd (A). In the beginning, it sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table rugs, watches, jewelry and nylons. That is, it met the needs of people with products at reduced prices.
In 1945 he began to announce his business in the media and three years later he introduced the furniture in his sales, made by local manufacturers of the forests near his house, with a very positive reception. In 1951 he launched his already famous catalog and in 1953 he opened his first store with an exhibition, "an important moment in the development of the IKEA concept, since for the first time customers can see and touch home decoration products before buying them" , explain. In 1956 they began to produce their transportable disassembled furniture in flat packages (the first piece was the Lövet table, reissued for some years) and two years later they opened their first store in Sweden.
The following decades are marked by unstoppable sales growth and openings of new business lines and establishments in new countries, becoming the most important furniture company in the world. In 1986, Kamprad left the address, although he continued as an advisor until in 2013 he announced his decision to leave the board of directors, which he left to one of his three children, Mathias. Kamprad always boasted of his austerity (he bought all his clothes in second-hand stores and food about to expire), of his simple tastes and of his self-taught entrepreneurial spirit.