September 29, 2017

Credit: Mikel Ortega / Flickr / Creative Commons

And now a dip into history…  For the story of Ingvar Kamprad, a man who loved his Volvo. He loved the idea of holding onto it year after year, as the number on the odometer got steeper and steeper.

Eventually, he did get rid of the car, but not until he had owned it for more than two decades and squeezed every bit of life out of it.

Ingvar is legendary for that kind of hard-core thriftiness. He likes to eat at low-priced restaurants and even apparently plans his trips to the supermarket at times when the store starts slashing prices to get rid of merchandise, just to save a bit more money.

Ingvar isn’t in denial about being cheap – he’s said that’s just the way he is. He also happens to be a billionaire, with his current net worth estimated at $3.5 billion

He began building his fortune many years ago by buying matches in bulk and then selling them to individual customers so he could pocket the difference. That was when he was six. At 17, Ingvar started the company that made him famous.

It’s a company that revolutionized the sales of something pretty basic, that made its name in large part by being cheap.  Ingvar Kamprad named the company after his own initials and the area he’s from – Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd – resulting in “I.K.E.A.”

IKEA’s notion that you could put furniture together yourself – which would save money in both labor and shipping – marked a huge change in the way furniture was sold, and who could afford to buy it.

Today, Ingvar is almost 90 and lives near IKEA’s offices in Sweden. He’s still very involved in the company and, reportedly, has no plans to retire.

This segment originally aired on October 16, 2015. It was rebroadcast on September 30, 2017.  

IKEA, Business, Culture, WGBH, furniture, pri

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