Life starts at home
G ஜThe founder of IKEA
ஜThe Birth of IKEA
ஜThe IKEA business idea
ஜThe IKEA organization
ஜIKEA catalog cover archive
The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad
Ingvar Kamprad was born in the south of
Sweden in 1926 and raised on a farm call
ed Elmtaryd, near the small village of
Agunnaryd. At an early age, he learned that
he could buy matches in bulk from Stockholm and sell
them at a fair price, but a good profit. He reinvested his
profits and expanded to fish, seeds, Christmas tree
decorations, and pens and pencils. At age 17,
Kamprad's father gave him a nice reward for doing well
in school. What did he spend it on? He founded IKEA.
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.
He continued to expand his business to a variety of
goods, including wallets, watches, jewelry and
stockings. When he outgrew his ability to call on his
customers individually, he converted to a sort of
makeshift mail order operation, hiring the local milk
van to make his deliveries.
ﮝ The IKEA business idea is to offer a wide range of home
furnishings with good design and function at prices so low that as
many people as possible will be able to afford them.
ﮝ Our business idea is based on a partnership with the
customer. First we do our part. Our designers work with
manufacturers to find smart ways to make furniture using
existing production processes. Then our buyers look all over the
world for good suppliers with the most suitable raw materials.
Next, we buy in bulk — on a global scale — so that we can get the
best deals, and you can get the lowest price.
ﮝ Then you do your part. Using the IKEA catalogue and
visiting the store, you choose the furniture yourself and pick it up
at the self-serve warehouse. Because most items are packed flat,
you can get them home easily, and assemble them yourself. This
means we don't charge you for things you can easily do on your
♣ 1926 The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad .Even as a
young boy, Ingvar knew that he wanted to develop a business.
He started by selling matches to neighbors from his bicycle. He
found that he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from
Stockholm and sell them individually at a very low price but
still make a good profit.
♣ In 1943, when Ingvar was 17, his father gave him a gift for
succeeding in his studies. The gift was used to establish his own
business. The name IKEA was formed from the founder's
initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd,
the farm and village where he grew up. IKEA originally sold
pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewellery
and nylon stockings—whatever Ingvar found a need for that
he could fill with a product at a reduced price.
♣ 1945 The first IKEA advertisements appear in local
♣ 1947 Furniture is introduced into the IKEA product range.
♣ 1951 The first IKEA furniture catalogue is published.
♣ 1953 The IKEA range focused to home furnishing products
in the early 1950s. The opening of the showroom was an
important moment in the development of the IKEA concept.
For the first time customers could see and touch our
furnishings before ordering. This came about as a solution
to a problem. By opening the showroom, IKEA could in
three dimensions present its products with function, quality
and low price. And people did just what IKEA had hoped:
they wisely chose the products with the best value for the
♣ 1955 IKEA begins designing its own furniture.
♣ 1956 IKEA begins testing flat packages. For the customer,
this means lower priced products and easy transportation
home. But all of this began carefully, one product at a time.
♣ 1958 The first IKEA store is inaugurated in
Älmhult.6,700 square metres of home furnishings! At the
time, it was the largest furniture display in Scandinavia.
♣ 1959 Gillis Lundgren—the fourth employee at IKEA—
designs TORE, possibly our biggest sales success ever.
♣ 1963 The first IKEA store in Norway opens outside Oslo.
This was also our first store not located in Sweden.
♣ 1965 The IKEA store in Stockholm is opened. The success
created huge capacity problems in serving the customers.
By opening the warehouse and letting people serve
themselves, an important part of the IKEA concept was
♣ 1969 The first IKEA store opens in Denmark.
♣ 1973 The first store outside Scandinavia is opened outside
♣ 1974 The first IKEA store opens in Munich, Germany.
♣ 1975 The first IKEA store in Australia opens.
♣ 1976 The first IKEA store opens in Canada.
♣ The first IKEA store opens in the Netherlands.
♣ 1981 The first IKEA store opens in France.
♣ The first IKEA store in Belgium is opened.
♣ 1985 The first IKEA store opens in the USA. At first, we
weren’t sure the USA needed IKEA. After all, what could
we bring to the country that has everything? But we
discovered there is a need everywhere for useful, attractive
home furnishings at prices for every wallet.
♣ 1987 The first IKEA store in the UK opens.
♣ 1989 The first IKEA store opens in Italy.
♣ 1990 The first IKEA stores in Hungary and Poland opens.
♣ 1991 The first IKEA stores opens in Czech Republic and
United Arab Emirates.
♣ 1993 IKEA reaches 114 stores in 25 countries.
♣ 1995 DAGIS kids’ chair, by Richard Clack, is born.He
obviously took a long, hard look at kids before he designed it.
Children do not have sharp corners, they are fairly soft but
can stand up to a little rough and tumble now and again.
They are cheeky but cute and they just love the hurly-burly
of child-hood. In this spirit, he designed his chair for
children. And then he added one little improvement. As far
as we know, children do not yet come in stackable versions to
save space and facilitate moving them. DAGIS, on the other
♣ 1996 The first IKEA store opens in Spain.
♣ 1997 IKEA introduces Children’s IKEA.Play areas,
children’s room settings, baby areas, special meals in the
restaurant and still more play areas make IKEA a place kids
love to visit.
♣ 1998 IKEA opens its first store in China.
♣ 1999 IKEA numbers 53,000 co-workers across a global
network of over 150 stores in 29 countries on four continents.
♣ 2000 The first IKEA store opens in Russia.
The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, has been
eager to create an ownership structure and organization
that stand for long-term independence and security. The
IKEA Group is owned by a foundation, Stitching
INGKA Foundation , which is registered in the
Netherlands. The foundation owns INGKA Holding B.V.
the parent company for all IKEA Group companies -
from the industrial group Sherwood to the sales
companies that own the stores in the various countries.
Inter IKEA Systems B.V., the owner of the IKEA concept
and trademark, has franchising agreements with every
IKEA store in the world. The IKEA Group is the biggest
franchisee of Inter IKEA Systems B.V.