On March 30 in the year 1926, the world’s former richest person in the furniture industry was born in Amhult, Sweden. His name is Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer.
Ingvar Kamprad was the son of farmers. As a young boy, he sold matches, decorative items and school supplies. With limited formal education, he continued with his entrepreneurial journey throughout his adolescent period. In 1943 at the age of 17, he founded IKEA which is an acronym of his name and the place where he grew up (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd). Most of his goods were fast moving household items. Furniture is to be added five years later and became the main company product since then.
As a conscientious innovator, Ingvar Kamprad introduced a method called flatpacking in 1956. This was a revolutionary way of selling furniture in pieces to be assembled later by the customer himself. It was not only convenient but also inexpensive.
To avoid the high tax environment in Sweden, Ingvar Kamprad moved the head office to Denmark in 1973. He then created a complex superstructure for the company to protect it from unwanted corporate raiders and to further take advantage of tax incentives. Hence, majority of the over 350 stores worldwide are owned by a family-controlled charitable institution based in the Netherlands but the franchise and the trademarks are owned by another company which is in turn controlled by another Luxembourg-based company.
Ingvar Kamprad passed away in 2018 at the age 91. According to bloomberg.com, his net worth was $47.8 billion in 2017. He married twice and had four children, including an adopted daughter. In addition to retail outlets, the IKEA group also maintains numerous production units and credit card. His youngest son became chairman in 2013 when Ingvar Kamprad stepped down.