Podcast & Book Reviews

November 9, 2022

The Founder of IKEA: Ingvar Kamprad by Founders Podcast

By Robert Miller| Portfolio Manager at NAOS Asset Management

The Founder of IKEA: Ingvar Kamprad by Founders Podcast

David Senra, host of Founders Podcast reads a biography every week of an entrepreneur and talks through the key learnings from some of history’s greatest & most important businesspeople. ‘Leading By Design: The Ikea Story’ is the autobiography written by Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, written in 1999.

An extremely frugal man, Kamprad was driven by the idea of cutting out the middlemen wholesalers and providing goods to consumers direct from the manufacturer. What is now the world’s largest furniture retailer started out as a mail order catalogue selling small household goods such as pens and picture frames. The introduction of furniture didn’t occur until 1948. Soon the business became only about furniture however and with that came massive issues Kamprad needed to solve.

Customers wanted to see, touch, feel, any potential furniture orders, so what did Kamprad do? He still sent out the catalogue in the mail but in 1952 he opened the first store in Älmhult, Sweden. Prior to opening on its first day, there was a queue of a thousand people waiting for the doors to open. For the next 70 years he continued to open stores all over the world. What is most interesting about the podcast is the analysis of the mistakes, emotions, problems, lessons and regrets that Kamprad is very honest in recounting.

Fun fact: The name IKEA comes from the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad, the name of the farm he grew up on Elmtaryd, and the village nearby to the farm Agunnaryd.


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