So you own all of their furniture (especially the RASKOG cart) and have probably attempted an IKEA hack of two. But, when you think about it, how much do you really know about the Swedish furniture giant that's made furnishing your home so much more affordable? Probably not a lot, until now:
For a store with a design aesthetic that feels impossibly modern, it's hard to imagine IKEA existing right around when gingham kitchens came into style. But Ingvar Kamprad who was just 17-years-old at the time, launched IKEA as mail-order sales business that originally only sold small items, like picture frames. Now he's 89 and worth $3.4 billion.
Not-so-fun fact: Kampard was actually a Nazi sympathizer in his youth. But he calls that period "the greatest mistake of my life," and even wrote a letter to employees asking them to forgive him.
The approach was invented by a technical design drafter who worked for the company named Gillis Lundgren. When he couldn't fit a wooden table into the trunk of a car, he decided to pull off the legs to make it work. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you assumed IKEA was just a Swedish word you didn't know, you're wrong. The letters stand for the founder's initials (Ingvar Kamprad), the initial for the farm he grew up on (Elmtaryd), and the town the farm was in (Agunnaryd, Sweden). Apparently he was a sentimental guy.
Since Kamprad was dyslexic, he named products using proper names and words, because it made them easier for him to identify. For example: Many living room items are named after places in Sweden, while bathroom furniture is named after lakes and rivers.
And no, we don't mean a house filled with IKEA furniture. The company actually sells flat-pack houses for a fraction of the cost of a regular home — no relator required. The BoKlok House was their first attempt and was released in Sweden in 1996.
According to The Economist, 100 million copies of the Bible are sold or given out each year. But the IKEA catalog (in its great and infinite scope) goes out to 180 million people in 27 different languages annually. Here's a vintage example from 1951.
If that doesn't speak to how popular the company is, we don't know what will.
Which translates into 42 tennis courts.
Yes, 1% doesn't sound like a lot, but think harder: IKEA is simply one furniture company in a sea of furniture companies in the world — not to mention all of the companies that use wood for things other than furniture.
But maybe it's not that surprising when you consider how many people you know who own the MALM Dresser (um, everyone?).
When you think of Friends and furniture, you likely remember Pottery Barn and moving giant couches ("Pivot!"). But IKEA appears three times in the series, starting with "The One With All the Poker" in 1995. Now excuse us as we binge watch the sitcom in an attempt to catch all three references.