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The History ... The Vision ... and the Secrets of IKEA"s Success

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"To create a better everyday life for the majority of people." That is the vision of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, who grew up on a farm called Elmtaryd in the parish of Agunnaryd in the south of Sweden. From these roots came the name --Ingvar, Kamprad, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd -- and the spirit of IKEA. IKEA, the one-man mail-order business started in 1943 by a 17-year-old visionary who delivered small items via the local milk route, has grown into one of the world's largest chain of home furnishings stores, featuring a global network of 142 stores throughout 29 nations. This global network employs more than 36,400 individuals and is visited by nearly 143 million people each year, all the while remaining true to its original philosophy. IKEA fulfills Kamprad's vision by offering a wide range of home furnishing items of good design and function, at prices so low that the majority of people can afford to buy them. The idea behind IKEA is to allow people of all ages, at any stage of life, to create a home of their own at a reasonable price -- to fill empty rooms with beautiful, practical furniture and delightful accessories -- to furnish affordably without compromising aesthetics. "Typically IKEA" Through the years, even as the number of items in IKEA's inventory has increased, the character of the company's furnishings and accessories has maintained a consistent profile ... a Swedish/ Scandinavian style immediately identifiable as "typically IKEA." Whether its a couch or a coffee mug, IKEA products are simple and straightforward, durable and easy to live with. While many other stores sell furniture, rugs and lamps, IKEA sells home furnishings. IKEA designers think in terms of whole rooms as the entire product range is coordinated, making it easy to find a rug to accentuate the sofa and picture frames that complement the bookshelves. The stores and catalogs are filled with imaginative and sometimes unconventional ideas on how rooms can be furnished and decorated ... comfortable environments that are "typically IKEA."

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