Ingvar Kamprad's cousin said that he loved to fish and crayfish, loved adventure and danger. That's how he was. A man who left a mark not only in the world of business, but also in the apartment of every fifth inhabitant of the world. A brilliant entrepreneur, innovator, founder of the huge IKEA furniture empire and the biggest miser among the rich, the real Scrooge is Kamprad Ingvar. The media accuse him of Nazi sympathies, tax evasion, outdated views on business. And the Swedes themselves say that Kamprad has done much more for Sweden than all the politicians put together. What was this person really like?
Ingvar always said that the most important thing in his life is his family. It was they who influenced his life and supported him when IKEA was only taking its first steps.
Telling about his biography, Ingvar Kamprad often joked that trading was in his blood. His mother came from the family of the famous merchants of Elmhult. Ingvar's father was not a good entrepreneur and ran the family farmvery bad.
Ingvar's grandfather was the owner of a store where the boy often spent time and sometimes worked part-time. Thanks to his grandfather, Kamprad became seriously interested in commerce. Subsequently, on the site of the shop, Ingvar will build an IKEA furniture factory. Unfortunately, my grandfather was not a very successful businessman, and, unable to withstand the tax burden that fell on the family, he committed suicide. The grandfather's business was taken over by Ingvar's grandmother, from whom, in his own words, he learned strength of character and inherited the ability to trade.
Kamprad himself has been married twice and has four children. They adopted a daughter from their first marriage with their first wife. In the second marriage, Ingvar and his wife had three sons, who currently inherited their father's company.
The story of Ingvar Kamprad is a true success story of a country boy who managed to become a legend in his lifetime, along with Steve Jobs and Henry Ford. He called the immortality of his company his main goal. Some people around him say he was born to run IKEA.
Early years and first business
Ingvar was born in 1926 in the parish hospital and became the first child in the family. The boy spent the early years of his life on a farm near the town of Elmhult. And when he was 7 years old, the family moved to Elmtard, where Ingvar's father began to manage the farm. Things were not going very well, the family managed to make ends meet only thanks to the fact that Ingvar's mother persuadedhusband to rent rooms to guests.
Ingvar himself recalls that they all lived then in one room, the rest were guests. This, perhaps, led to the fact that until the end of his life he would remain an unpretentious person and a “herd animal” (as Kamprad called himself).
At about the age of five, Ingvar Kamprad becomes interested in money and how to earn it. The aunt helps the boy buy a hundred boxes, which the boy will later sell at a fair and make his first profit. A little later, he will start selling postcards, catching fish and selling it to his neighbors. He is driven by the desire to earn money and help his father.
Later he would sell ballpoint pens, which were new to the stationery market at the time. He would do this for quite a long time, importing pens from France, selling them at a significant markup in Sweden, and even once arranged a product presentation, during which he promised each guest a coffee and a bun. More than a thousand people attended the presentation, and Invar almost went bankrupt.
What does the name IKEA mean?
In 1943, Ingvar, at the age of seventeen, decides to open his first company. He comes up with the name very quickly "IKEA" - this is an abbreviation in which "I" means Ingvar, "K" is Kamprad, "E" is Elmtard (the place where Ingvar lived), and "A" is a borrowed letter from the name Invar's father's farm "Agunnard".
How was IKEA created?
In 1943, Invar goes to study at the School of Commerce. the very firstKamprad's business idea was the sale of small things: pens, lighters, saws. He imported goods at a low cost, then sold them in different cities in Sweden.
For the first time the idea to do furniture business came to him in the post-war years. In recognition of Ingvar Kamprad, he decided to found IKEA in order to bypass his long-standing merchant competitors. The young man bought several pieces of furniture and placed an advertisement for the sale in the newspaper. There was only one problem, furniture is a very expensive commodity. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of the last century it cost a lot of money and not everyone could afford to buy furniture. Most people made it themselves.
Ingvar set himself an ambitious task: to make furniture a consumer product. To do this, the furniture needed to be greatly reduced in price. The entrepreneur hires three more employees by 1950 and transfers the current care of the company to them. He himself goes in search of cheap furniture.
The history of IKEA Ingvar Kamprad begins with the search for small local producers with the best prices. And he does it superbly. Competitors, seeing a threat in Kamprad's pricing policy, are also starting to cut prices for their products, but cannot keep up.
How did the first IKEA factory come about?
Even the lowest prices do not suit Invar, who is accustomed to saving, he decides to open the first IKEA factory for assembling furniture and individual components, which makes it possible to further reduce prices. The idea came to the entrepreneur when he saw how onethe loader unscrews the legs at the table in order. To load it into the car before shipping.
At this time, Kamprad invents his famous formula, which says that it is better to sell 600 cheap chairs than 60 expensive ones.
Low prices allowed IKEA to quickly become one of the leading companies in the country. This, of course, did not suit competitors. Began dishonest struggle for the buyer. Competitors spread unpleasant rumors about IKEA and its young leader.
Companies are forbidden to take part in exhibitions. The matter reached the point of absurdity. Once, the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, was banned from participating in an exhibition held in a building owned by him.
In addition, because the price of furniture was very low, consumers began to complain about its quality. Goods were still sold through advertisements and catalogs, so buyers, when purchasing furniture, could not assess its quality. An immediate decision was required. And Ingvar finds him. He organizes his own exhibition of his own furniture at the factory, this solves two problems at once: buyers see the goods and there is no dependence on competitors. Things improved, and five years later, Ingvar and the company managed to open a full-fledged store on the top floor of the factory.
By the end of the eighties, IKEA stores-warehouses had already covered the whole of Europe, not only Western, but also Eastern. Kamprad even tried to break into the market of the Soviet Union, but failed. He succeeded in his first store in Russiaopen only in 2000 in Khimki. Now there is also an IKEA plant in Russia.
Another innovative approach was the opportunity to try out the furniture. Anyone could sit on a chair and check how comfortable it is or lie down on an IKEA bed. In the trading pavilions of the company, this is still allowed for visitors.
Cause of death
Former IKEA owner Ingvar Kamprad passed away on January 27 in the Swedish city of Småland at the age of 91.
Until 92 years old, he did not live only some 2 months. Ingvar's body was found in his mansion in bed. According to the police, the already elderly Invar died of old age while sleeping.
Kamprad divided his empire back in 2012. This year, he sold the rights to use the brand to IKEA's subsidiary in the Netherlands, IKEA Systems.
He left his sons posts in the company. The eldest son, Peter, manages all the assets of the family and holds a key position on the board of directors of Ikano. Jonas, middle son, member of the board of directors of the IKEA Group. The younger Matthias is the chairman of the board of directors of Inter IKEA.
The IKEA business is very private and family run. The company has no shares and virtually all asset sales occur internally. The company conducted its first brand valuation in 2012 in order to sell one of the companies owned by Ingvar to the IKEA group of companies. In 2015, the company's net profit amounted to more than 30 billion dollars, by 2018 this amountincreased to $36 billion.
The exact value of the IKEA brand is currently unknown. The fortune of its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, is also a mystery. But shortly before the death of Ingvar, information began to appear in the media that in 91 years Kamprad managed to save more than $ 52 billion and become the richest person on the planet (according to Bloomberg). Forbes magazine was more modest in its estimates and estimated Kamprad's fortune at just over 3 billion, and the total family fortune equated to 3.5 billion.
Invar Kamprad was most often accused of pro-Nazi views and incredible miserliness. Was Kamprad really like this?
Ingvar preferred to use cheap furniture from IKEA at home or used old furniture, which was often over 20 years old. So, one day, he mentioned that he prefers to sit on an old armchair, which he acquired 30 years ago. Ingvar has been driving an old Volvo for over 20 years, trying to fly economy class whenever possible, and wearing clothes bought at a flea market or second-hand. He is accused of tax evasion in Sweden. Ingvar moved to Switzerland only to reduce the tax burden. And among businessmen, a story is known when Kamprad was not allowed to present prestigious awards for entrepreneurs just because the security guard did not believe that a billionaire could ride a bus. Ingvar Kamprad often used public transport.Ingvar's neighbors said that he never donated money to the poor.
In fact, in addition to the old Volvo, Invar also had a Porsche, he had a villa in Switzerland and a small vineyard. If he needed to get to a meeting quickly, he could also fly on a charter flight.
When the head of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, was asked in an interview if he considers himself a miser, he replied that he considers himself a miser and is proud of it. Later, he explained that he achieved such incredible performance thanks to an exceptionally modest lifestyle. Thus, he tried to set a good example for his children and employees. The truth is that Ingvar spent a lot of money on the development of the company.
Despite Ingvar's stinginess, the IKEA Charitable Foundation annually continues to transfer tens of millions of dollars to combat child labor, protect children's rights and address the problems of homelessness. It is known that the foundation became a co-author of the UNICEF document "Save the Children".
Kamprad has been repeatedly accused of sympathizing with the Nazis. In one of his books, Ingvar Kamprad said that his grandmother was a fan of Hitler and tried to instill in him a love for Nazi Germany.
In 1994, letters from one of the Swedish pro-Nazis were published. They mentioned that Kamprad was an activist of the Novoshvedskoye Movement group, which expresses racist views. A real scandal erupted! Workers and consumers demanded an explanation. After that, Kamprad published a letter en titled "My biggest fiasco" in whichregretted his participation in the Nazi organization. In addition, it is worth mentioning that one of Ingvar's best friends was a refugee, Otto Ulman, a Jew by nationality. Subsequently, Otto will help Ingvar open his first business and greatly influence his vision of finances.
Despite the fact that Ingvar suffered from dispersion all his life and could not read, he managed to participate in the creation of several books.
In 2002, the famous book created by Ingvar Kamprad “I have an idea! About the history of IKEA, co-authored with Bertil Torekul. Honest revelation, a guide for young businessmen. In it, the already middle-aged 82-year-old Ingvar spoke about his childhood, about how he came up with the idea of a furniture store “for everyone” and charitable work.
Torekul Bertil's book "IKEA Saga" was written as a result of numerous interviews given by Ingvar. He never spared time for his biographer.
Ingvar's best work is the book "The Will of a Furniture Dealer", in which he outlined all the basic principles of his company, talked about how to increase sales and corporate governance.