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The story of IKEA

A couple outside the IKEA store

    Today, millions of people have embraced IKEA in their hearts and homes. But every success story has started somewhere. Did you know that IKEA was once a small business in Älmhult, a small Swedish village in the countryside, selling things through a mail order catalogue? The IKEA headquarters, where all the designs are conceived, is still located there. This is our story.

    A stone wall bordering two fields in Älmhult, Sweden, the birthplace of IKEA

      Our roots

      Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA at the age of 17 in 1943 and sold household items such as pens, wallets and picture frames. Småland, the landscape where Ingvar grew up, was stony and rough. At that time, many inhabitants had to make ends meet with few resources. That is why Smålanders are economical and innovative, with a 'no-nonsense' mentality of daily problem solving. Among other things, this philosophy has made the IKEA way so successful.

      The development of the IKEA logo over the years:

      Five different IKEA logos that show how the brand has evolved over the years

        Did you know that?

        IKEA is named after the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd, the farm where he grew up, and Agunnaryd, the nearby village.

         A picture of the very first IKEA catalogue published in 1951. With a red armchair on the cover.

          The IKEA catalogue

          Älmhult, the city where IKEA was founded, is located in a rather remote area of Sweden. It was difficult to reach potential customers in the larger cities. That's why the IKEA catalogue was created in 1951. Ingvar had already decided by then that IKEA would sell good furniture at low prices:

          A black and white portrait of Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, with a chair.

            "Why are beautiful products only made for a few buyers? It should be possible to offer good design and functionality at low prices."

            – Ingvar Kamprad

            A black and white photo with the very first IKEA showroom in Älmhult, Sweden.

              De allereerste IKEA showroom

              The first IKEA showroom

              The prices in the first IKEA catalogue were so low that people were initially sceptical about the quality of the products. Ingvar decided to transform an old workshop in Älmhult into a showroom where people could see and try out the products before they ordered.

              A product photo of the IKEA LÖVBACKEN dark wooden table, sold at IKEA in 1956.

              How the idea of flat packaging came about

              The distribution of bulky furniture was difficult and expensive, and products were often damaged. In 1956 we came up with the idea of removing the legs from the LÖVET table. This led to the idea of self-assembly and flat packaging.

              Today, LÖVET continues under the name LÖVBACKEN. A table that has contributed to a great idea.

              We love challenges!

              Since the creation of IKEA, our best ideas have come from our biggest challenges. We believe this makes us unique. Today, IKEA is one of the world's best-known home furnishing brands. If we include the many thousands of employees of our suppliers, more than a million people are working with us to achieve our vision of creating a better everyday life for as many people as possible. And this is just the beginning. As Ingvar Kamprad always said, "Most things still need to be done. A glorious future awaits us!"