THE STORY OF IKEA
(I did not write this, someone sent it to me)
Tighter than wallpaper…
There isn’t any profit sharing here …
He lives in a bungalow, flies EasyJet and ‘dries out’ three times a year…
the man who founded Ikea and is worth more than $15bn .
Self-made man: Ingvar Kamprad with wife Margaretha
In his faded coat, tinted prescription glasses and scuffed shoes,
he looks like just another pensioner scraping by on a tight budget.
But the man pictured here is Ingvar Kamprad, the reclusive Swedish
founder of Ikea. And he is worth $15.7 billion. That makes himthe
world’s seventh richest man, but the 81-year-old admits he is still
“a bit tight” with money.
He takes easyJet flights, drives himself around in a 15-year-old Volvo,
and has furnished his modest house almost entirely with Ikea items –
which he assembled himself .
He boasted that he changed his barber of many years’ standing after
finding another who would cut his hair for only $6. And whenhe
arrived at a gala evening recently to collect a Businessman of the Year
Award, the security guards refused to let him in becausethey saw him
getting off a bus when he arrived.
A former Nazi sympathizer in the years immediately following the Second World
War, he is a self-confessed alcoholic who admits he has an ongoing problem with drink.
But he says he has it under control and adds that he “dries out” three times a year.
His eagernessto save money extends to his visits to London, when he shuns taxis and
prefers to use the Tube or buses. A simple life: Mr Kamprad’s Swiss home, furnished
almost entirely with items from Ikea.
He now lives in semi-retirement with his wife Margaretha in a villa in Switzerland.
T he couple are often seen dining out in cheap restaurants and haggling over prices
in the market. He always does his food shopping in the afternoon, when the prices
in his local market start to fall. Recently, a statue of him was erected in his Swedish
home town, and he was invited to cut the ribbon. It was reported that instead he
untied it, folded it neatly and handed it to the mayor, telling him he could now use it again.
Explaining his frugal nature, he said: “I am a bit tight with money, a sort of Swedish
Scotsman. But so what? If I start to acquire luxurious things then this will only incite
others to follow suit. It’s important that leaders set an example. I look at the money
I’m about to spend on myself and ask if Ikea’s customers could afford it.
From time to time I like to buy a nice shirt and cravat -and eat Swedish fish roe.
Mr Kamprad was 17 when he founded Ikea in 1943. The name came from his initials,
IK, with an E for Elmtaryd, the family farm where he grew up, and an A for Agunnaryd,
his home village. He came up with the idea of flat-packed furniture when he was trying
to fit a table into the boot of his car – a friend suggested he should take the legs off, and
the rest is history.
He opened his first store in 1965, only to see the wind smash the neon sign and cause a fire
which burned the place down.
From that inauspicious beginning – Ikea has grown from a village-based mail order business
to a multinational empire witha turnover of nearly $9 billion a year.
It is 21 years since Ikea opened its first British store, in Warrington, Cheshire, taking the
furniture business by storm andbringing the joys – and frustrations – of the flatpack to
countless homes. Ikea is now Britain’s fourth biggest furniture retailer despite having
relatively few branches. It has been claimed that more people read the Ikea catalogue
than the Bible- and that one in ten Europeans have been conceived on an Ikea bed.
The company is now run jointly by Mr. Kamprad’sthree sons Peter, 44, Jonas, 41, and
Matthias, 39, because their father does not want any one person to have total control.