I know it might not be the most sensible thing to do to go to IKEA on a Sunday, but when you’re working it’s not easy to squeeze it in at another time – we only work at home, so we’re free, but son and beautiful partner are both very busy people. So off we went this morning, and as luck would have it, it wasn’t too busy and we had an enjoyable wander around.
IKEA started in a small way, a very small way, with a little boy selling matches to his friends and neighbours; he worked out how to make more money by sourcing his matches from different places, and from those young beginnings his business brain developed. He was a small Swedish boy, Ingvar Kamprad who was born in Småland in southern Sweden, on Elmtaryd Farm near a little village called Agunnaryd. Moving on from matches he began to sell other small items, pencils, decorations, seeds… This boy definitely had a future!
He worked hard in school and his father helped him start a business, which eventually became I.K.E.A., Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. In 1958, Ingvar’s first Swedish store opened, and five years later the first foreign store, in neighbouring Norway also opened… however it wasn’t until 1987, when there were lots of IKEAs all across Europe and in other overseas countries, that the first British store opened its doors, in Manchester, where I used to live!
IKEA has spread to every continent (maybe not Antarctica!) – not only are its products beautiful, functional, practical, useful, but the company is ethical and dedicated to being environmentally sensitive, using sustainable resources, being fair to all its workers, supporting communities and community projects – and not just by giving people employment but by starting other initiatives.
If you want to know more, here is a link – oh and we didn’t manage to walk out without buying anything, storage boxes, scented candles, rye crispbread and Swedish mustard… Sitting here writing, my computer is on an IKEA table, I’m surrounded by IKEA bookcases (the famous Billy bookcases) there are IKEA baskets, glasses, CD racks… and I’m smiling as I remember going from Manchester to Leeds for the opening of the store there, buying a huge flatpack piece of furniture which was on offer, and other things, and driving back with the four of us, completely squashed by all the things in the car, only my husband driving was able to sit comfortably… nearly every time we go, we see similar family situations in the car park as people try and get the gigantic thing they have just bought into the tiny car they have!