Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in the Swedish province of Småland when he was just 17 years old. Using his bicycle as a mobile convenience store, he peddled Christmas cards and other small luxury items that thrifty Smålanders could not previously afford. And his timing was perfect: Sweden’s post-war economy was just beginning to boom.
Seventy years later, IKEA is the largest furniture retailer in the world, with 150,000 employees in 42 countries, and a corporate culture that remains loyal to Kamprad’s creed of frugality and self-sufficiency.
As the IKEA catalogue puts it: “Because thin soils can’t be farmed in the same way as a fertile field, Smålanders have always had to work harder, adapt their ideas and do things differently”.
"Why would I buy anything my customers could not afford?"