He was selling matches and Christmas decorations door-to-door at five years old. At 17 Kamprad combined his own initials with the first letters from the names of the farm and village where he grew up - Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, to start a company selling furniture made by local manufacturers. By the age of 30 he had discovered the power of flatpack furniture after seeing a fellow employee struggle a table into his car. This and affordable furniture became the focus for IKEA and eventually led to shape the iconic retailer we know and love today.
According to the ABC, IKEA has released a statement saying, "One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has peacefully passed away, at his home in Småland, Sweden, on the 27th of January."
"We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar. His legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people – will continue to guide and inspire us", says Jesper Brodin, CEO and President of the IKEA Group in a statement.
"Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind — hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye.
"He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done."
Worldwide, IKEA has changed lives for millions of homeowners and has been a household name for generations. The business now generates close to 50 billion euros ($76.6 billion) in annual revenue, and Mr Kamprad himself has been listed numerous times as one of the wealthiest men in the world. Despite this incredible success, he reportedly drove a Volvo and lived a comparatively a modest life.
In memory of Mr Kamprad’s genius and generosity, here are some things we love about IKEA:
- Always true to its origins, the IKEA logo is in the colours of the Swedish flag and has hardly changed during the company’s history. The 1967 version remains a consistent symbol of the IKEA business.
- The LOVBACKEN side table was the first IKEA product to be designed as a flat pack, after IKEA co-worker Gillis Lundgren couldn’t fit it in his car. The table remains on sale in IKEA stores today.
- Not all IKEA prices are fixed – in keeping with Mr Kamprad’s original company concept of keeping prices as low as possible, if they find they can make a product cheaper to bring to the shelf, they will do so and drop the price to reflect that.
- Each and every product has been thoughtfully designed by one, or a team of IKEA designers, who make up part of the "IKEA family”. Some of these designers have been with the company since it’s very beginning and their designs number in the 1000s. A testament to commendable design, many continue to remain in the catalogue years, even decades later. You can search IKEA’s website on a designer’s name to discover other pieces they have designed.
- Through this design focus we are able to furnish and decorate our homes with beautiful, affordable solutions that have stood the test of time.
- IKEA continue to take seriously the way we live and our impact on the world as we consume objects for our home and lives. They conduct a series of reports annually to observe and measure both the way we live and how they can influence this in a positive way.
- Together with the release of 100s of new products each year, IKEA constantly finds ways to reinvent existing, often iconic products, whether with structural or design improvements or a simple facelift.
“Every product we create is our idea for making home a better place” ~ IKEA