IKEA Welcome Home

IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943 by the 17 years old Ingvar Kamprad, who is now one of the ten richest people in the world. The company's name is an acronym that consists of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad (name of founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden). The company is known for its modern architectural designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity.

It has been the world's largest furniture retailer since at least 2008.

Kamprad was born in Pjätteryd, Sweden and was raised on a farm near the province of Småland. His paternal grandfather was from Germany, but moved the family to Sweden.

In his childhood he was heavily influenced by his german father and grandmother political believes, and took part in a fascist movement in his teenage years, which he later described in his book as "the greatest mistake of my life".

Kamprad began to develop his entrepeneur skills as a young boy, selling matches to neighbors from his bicycle. He found that he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, and still make a good profit by selling them. From matches, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and later ballpoint pens and pencils. When Kamprad was 17, his father gave him a cash reward for succeeding in his studies.

And this is how IKEA was born.

Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943 as a mostly mail-order sales business. It began to sell furniture five years later. The first Möbel-IKÉA store was opened in Älmhult, Småland, in 1958. The first stores outside Sweden were opened in Norway and Denmark. The stores spread to other parts of Europe in the 1970s, with the first store outside Scandinavia opening in Switzerland, followed by West Germany.

Later that decade, stores opened in other parts of the world, such as Japan, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore. IKEA further expanded, opening stores in countries such as France and Spain, Belgium, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy. The company then expanded into more countries in the 1990s and 2000s. Germany, with 50 stores, is IKEA's biggest market, followed by the United States, with 44 stores, but IKEA's first place for the biggest store belongs to Gwangmyeong, South Korea, although not for long since IKEA is planning to break a world record and open the biggest store in the world in Seoul.

At the end of the 2016, the IKEA group operated 392 stores in 48 countries.

Ingvar Kamprad says: “We all share basic needs: a secure home, good health, a regular income, a desire to keep our children safe, to see them get a good education and succeed in life.

That's why he decided to start the IKEA foundation and to focus his fundings into these necessities.

IKEA funds programmes that address the need of a healthy and safe place for children to call home, creating circles of prosperity for those living in poverty. In this way, they help children build better futures, for themselves and their families.

They developped long-term, strategic partnerships with both large and small organisations, working with their partners to find innovative solutions, influence governments and bring about substantial changes in children’s lives.

IKEA believes that home is the most important place in the world and children its most important people.

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