1. Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, the founder of Swedish company IKEA, was born on Tuesday, 30 March, 1926. 30 March is also the birthday of other famous faces namely Canadian singer Celine Dion, actor Warren Beatty, singer and Grammy winner Norah Jones, rapper MC Hammer and the British star Piers Morgan.
2. Ingvar is one of those top businessmen who earn billions yet know the value of money. That is why he spends the money that he makes in a precocious manner. He owns a 1993 Volvo 240 and prefers travelling in economy class. Following the cost control philosophy of his company IKEA, Kamprad promotes the act of using both sides of paper at work, recycles the used tea bags, buys Christmas presents in Christmas sales and is often seen taking along the salt and black pepper packs served at restaurants.
3. Ingvar stepped into the world of business at a very early age, though it was on a very small scale. He learnt that he could buy bulks of matches at a cheap rate from Stockholm and then earn a modest profit on them by selling at a fair price. He started selling matches to his neighbors. As time went by, he expanded his business to selling seeds, fish, pen, pencils and Xmas tree decoration items. Delighted by the way his son conducted business and excelled at his studies, Ingvar’s father gave him a cash prize at the age of 17. With this cash, Ingvar went on to make one of the world’s top furniture retailers, IKEA.
4. Ingvar Kamprad’s IKEA has an approximate 200 stores around the world. Currently it has a presence in 41 countries. IKEA is also an employer to about 131,000 people worldwide.
5. Ingvar Kamprad was a supporter of the “New Swedish Movement” in 1943. The movement stressed upon Swedish Nationalism. His involvement in the movement became public in 1994. This involvement caused controversies in opening IKEA’s stores in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. However, the matter was later resolved and Ingvar even wrote letters personally to all his Jewish employees.
6. What many people do not know about Ingvar Kamprad’s IKEA is that the name has special meaning attached to it. IKEA is basically an acronym. The first two alphabets IK stands for Ingvar Kamprad. The last two alphabets EA denotes the farm and town that he grew up in namely Elmtaryd and Agunnary.
7. Ingvar Kamprad is also one of those personalities who suffered from Dyslexia as a child. Children suffering from dyslexia find it hard to pay attention, read properly and comprehend things in the same manner as other children.
8. Because Kamprad suffers from Dyslexia, IKEA’s products are named in a very special way. Kamprad was unable to comprehend the product codes and manage inventory, thus leading to a decision to name each individual product. For instance kitchen items are often Swedish words, dining tables represent places in Finland, Denmark places represent the carpets and so on.
9. The Bible is less popular than Ingvar’s IKEA catalogue. IKEA’S catalogues are sold usually three times more than those of the Bible every single year. IKEA’s catalogues have become immensely popular and they are now printed in 27 different languages annually.
10. Ingvar Kamprad’s venture is famous for many things. An IKEA commercial which ran in 1994 was the first ever commercial on a national TV to feature a gay relationship. In addition, an IKEA commercial was the first one to show a transgender person.
11. At the age of 86, when most people have retired or are thinking about retiring, Ingvar Kamprad is not ready to let go. According to him, he is “too busy to die”.
12. IKEA is a family-owned venture. Kamprad has three sons namely Jonas, Peter and Mathias. However, the succession issue has often caused disputes among the family. Kamprad fears that there might not be a smooth succession and naming any one of his sons as the CEO would make them fight against each other for the rest of their lives. For this reason, there has yet to be done a succession planning for IKEA.
13. Ingvar Kamprad was married twice. However, it was his second wife Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert who is considered, by Kamprad, to be the reason he fulfilled the dream to form IKEA. His wife passed away due to an undisclosed disease in 2011 at the age of 71.
14. Ingvar Kamprad is famous for being “tight with money” although he is one of the top 10 richest men alive. A surprising turn of events took place when, at a Gala evening, he was denied entry by guards because he got off from a bus. He was there to collect his “Businessman of the Year” award.
15. Ingvar Kamprad has a drinking problem. He acknowledges his persistent drinking issues but has also said that he “dries out” 3 times in a single year.
16. His Swedish hometown has honored him by building his statue in the locality. He was the one to unveil it and was invited to the ribbon ceremony as well, along with the Mayor.
17. Ingvar Kamprad underwent a heart surgery in Switzerland when he was 85 years old. Fortunately, he recovered very well.
18. Ingvar Kamprad follows a “Build it yourself” philosophy at IKEA. The furniture is not assembled and you have to bring it home and do it yourself. This enables IKEA to save costs as well as often offer products at a lower price.
19. Ingvar Kamprad knows very well how to follow the cost cutting philosophy. IKEA is a Swedish company. The designs are also made in Sweden. However, the majority of the manufacturing is done outside Sweden to save cost.
20. Las Vegas is one of the USA’s most populous cities. However, Ingvar’s IKEA was denied entry into the city. The local government was of the view that if the store is built within the city, it would endanger the business of locals. Hence, they did not allow IKEA to have a presence in their locality.