A young boy living on a farm in a small Switzerland village began his first business when he bought matches in bulk and then sold them by the piece to his village neighbors. With the profits from his matches sales he went on to sell other small bits and pieces like pens, seeds, and Christmas decorations. Then, when he turned seventeen his father gave him some money as a reward for doing well in school. With the money he now had he formed the company IKEA, an acronym for his name, Ingvar Kamprad, his family’s farm, Elmtaryd, and his village, Agunnaryd.
IKEA began as a mail order operation selling small home items that would soon incorporate furniture. It became Kamprad’s goal to supply people with quality merchandise at an affordable price. Having grown up on a farm without much material wealth taught Kamprad to appreciate a frugal living. In A Testament of a Furniture Dealer, his manifesto outlines his vision for this endeavor. Kamprad states, “It is not only for cost reasons that we avoid the luxury hotels. We don’t need flashy cars, impressive titles, uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our strength and our will!”
This philosophy is something Kamprad carries over into his personal life as well. Though he can afford pretty much any luxury available he still only travels economy class, drives a fifteen year old non luxury car, waits to shop post holiday sales, and loves popping into his own stores to visit the café for a cheap diner. He is against wastefulness, and encourages his employees to be frugal in their daily lives as well.
He has allowed himself a few luxuries such as a few beautiful properties, and he at one time had a Porsche. But other than that this billionaire, ranked the 11th richest person in the world, lives a very simple life. He has an estimated net worth of $23billion.