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IKEA and Lessons on Work

202255I was intrigued by the history of one of the most famous furniture in the world – IKEA. When I made a research on IKEA, what I got was some valuable lessons on work, manhood and life. Story was taken from their official website: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_IE/about_ikea/the_ikea_way/history/1940_1950.html

The IKEA story begins in 1926 when founder Ingvar Kamprad is born in Småland in southern Sweden. He is raised on ‘Elmtaryd’, a farm near the small village of Agunnaryd. Even as a young boy Ingvar knows he wants to develop a business.

During the 1920’s, at the age of five Ingvar Kamprad starts selling matches to his nearby neighbours and by the time he is seven, he starts selling further afield, using his bicycle. He finds that he can buy matches in bulk cheaply in Stockholm and re-sell them individually at a very low price but still make a good profit. From matches he expands to selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations, and later pencils and ball-point pens.

Lesson #1: Don’t eat your capital. Plant the profit and make it grow more. When starting a business or earning money, set aside a percentage of your income to make whatever business in your hands grow. We as men are called to cultivate the blessings given to us. 


IKEA is founded by Ingvar Kamprad

When Ingvar Kamprad is 17, his father gives him money as a reward for succeeding in his studies. He uses it to establish his own business. The name IKEA is formed from the founder’s initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd (E) and Agunnaryd (A), the farm and village where he grew up. IKEA originally sells pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewellery and nylon stockings – meeting needs with products at reduced prices.

Lesson #2: In business and in life, find a need and fill it. If you want a growing business, find something that would help people or add value to people. Many people fail in their plans because they never answer a need or a want. Your business and the story behind your business needs to fill a void or answer a need. 


The first IKEA advertisements appear
Ingvar Kamprad’s business outgrows his ability to make individual sales calls, so he begins advertising in local newspapers and operating a makeshift mail-order service. He uses the local milk van to deliver products to the nearby train station.

Lesson #3: Your structure must grow with your business. Ingvar was wise enough not to settle and say I am happy with the growth and stop there. He made efforts to grow the business and make it more profitable. Imagine if he stopped improving IKEA back then – we won’t experience IKEA now. 


Furniture is introduced into the IKEA range
The furniture is produced by local manufacturers in the forests close to Ingvar Kamprad’s home. The response is positive and the line expands


The first IKEA catalogue is published

IKEA founder sees the opportunity to sell furniture on a larger scale using a catalogue. The IKEA catalogue that we know today is born.

Lesson #4: Reinvent yourself. Find ways to reinvent who you are. Sa Tagalog, huwag kang maluma.