Ingvar Kamprad: IKEA Founder And Billionaire

Ingvar Kamprad is a little known name amongst the general public today, largely because he keeps himself to himself and is a very private individual. However, his achievements are simply amazing given his background. In fact, he is the owner of the single biggest furniture chain in the world at the moment and has made billions as a result. Ingvar Kamprad’s entrepreneurial ventures are simply amazing and thus can provide inspiration for budding entrepreneurs everywhere.

The Young Kamprad

Today, Ingvar Kamprad is worth $31 billion and was at number seven in the Forbes list of the richest men in the world as of March 2008. He is easily the richest man in Europe at the moment. However, his wealth was not always as healthy. The entrepreneur was born on March 30, 1926 in Sweden. He was born on a farm in the village of Agunnaryd in the province of Smaland. It was hardly a wealthy village but was instead a rural community that specialised in farming. Kamprad was well aware of its limitations and saw a business opportunity.

Before Ingvar Kamprad was in his teenage years, he was supplying the community with everything it needed at a profit. He would obtain goods on a regular trip to Stockholm and then sell them at a price to the neighbours. He began his business with matches and then moved onto products like Christmas decorations, fish, pens and seeds. They were all commodities that people needed but could not get a hold of. As such, he learned how to buy and sell for profit very quickly. He was a successful entrepreneur before he left school and set about building his empire at the tender age of 17.


The entrepreneur raised the capital to begin his own business from his father, who wished to reward him for his excellent results at school. It was named IKEA right from the start but is very different from the IKEA we know today. It was founded in 1943 and literally sold anything that Kamprad could get hold of and sell for a profit. It included pens, picture frames, wallets and jewellery, amongst other products. The entrepreneur started out by making sales calls himself but eventually ran out of time to market his business that way. Soon advertisements were appearing in the local newspaper.

It was not until 1947 that the IKEA we all know and love today was born. This was the year that Kamprad finally added furniture to the inventory. It was all made by hand by local craftsmen at that point and proved extremely popular. As such, the range expanded within just a few months. So much so that the entrepreneur published a mail order furniture catalogue in 1951. A further two years down the line the first showroom was opened, although it did take until 1958 to open the first store. Flat pack furniture had been introduced in 1956 and took furniture to the next level.

Since the 1950s, IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad have gone from strength to strength. The entrepreneur soon began opening other stores after the raging success of the first one showed no signs of abating. Kamprad now has stores all over the world. As a private man, little is known about the life of Kamprad today. However, it is rumoured that he is unbelievably frugal. Still in the habits he developed as a budding teenage entrepreneur, he never spends a penny that he does not have to and that may be one major reason why his personal fortune is as large as it is today. There is much to be learned from Ingvar Kamprad, including the fact that it does not matter how little your business starts because it can grow infinitely with a little perseverance and a lot of marketing.

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