IKEA design

Anecdotes about Kamprad abound. When his father complained that Ingvar slept late in the morning, Ingvar got himself an alarm clock, set it for six o’clock, and yanked away the off button. According to Kamprad, we should all divide our lives ‘into 10-minute units, and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.’

Though past 85, Kamprad still travels the world to visit new IKEA stores. He flies economy class, calls his employees ‘co-workers’, encourages everyone to dress informally, stays in cheap hotels and even replaces bottles from the hotel room mini-bar with cheap bottles bought in local supermarkets. He drives an old Volvo. He gives no interviews.

Critics of these stories say they seem intended to reinforce the company’s no-nonsense brand and encourage cost-awareness among company staff. They point out that Kamprad may be the world’s richest man, that he owns several lavish houses around the world, and that it would be ludicrous to assume a man of such wealth would not use any of it for private purposes.

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