Do you know how IKEA got its name?
Flat-pack, do-it-yourself, no tools required!
Everyone in Canada and the United States knows IKEA, the Swedish retail store that specializes in “buy it, bring it home, build it yourself” furniture. Every college kid and newlywed has IKEA furniture, kitchenware and linens in their homes, right? So, how did IKEA begin. Whose idea was this great big incredible store?
IKEA: in the beginning
Back in the 1920’s, there was a five-year-old boy by the name of Ingvar Kamprad who bought matches in bulk and sold them to his neighbours at a profit. By the time he was seven, he decided that by riding his bike he could reach a broader market. In not time, Ingvar was selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations, pencils and ball-point pens. What a little entrepreneur was he!
A born entrepreneur: 1940’s-1950’s
At the age of 17, using money that his father had given him as a reward for succeeding in his studies, Ingmar establish IKEA. The store sold pens, picture frams, watches, jewellery, wallets and nylong stockings, all at reduced prices.
What’s in a name?
Ingmar Kamprad dreamed up the name of IKEA by using his initials, I.K., along with the first letters of the farm and village where he grew up (E: Emtaryd; A: Agunnaryd).
Furniture is introduced
In 1948, Ingvar introduced furniture produced by local manufacturers into his product. By 1951, his product line had grown substantially and he published the first IKEA catalogue.
The year 1953 saw the opening of the first IKEA showroom in Älmhult, Sweden.For the first time customers can see and touch IKEA home furnishings before ordering them.
One day, in 1956, an IKEA co-worker removed the legs of the LÖVET table so that it would fit into his car and not be damaged on the way home. And, that, is how the flat packs and self-assembly became part of the concept!
Over the following two decades, IKEA expanded into Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Singapore, Canada and the Netherlands. During those decades, IKEA introduced its first in-store restaurant, the popular Poäng chair and the versatile Billy bookcases.
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