IKEA was founded in Älmhult, Sweden, in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, then 17. The company name is a composite of the first letters in his name in addition to the first letters of the names of the property and the village in which he grew up: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. This acronym is incidentally similar to the Finnish word oikea.
Originally, IKEA sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewelry and nylon stockings or practically anything Kamprad found a need for that he could fill with a product at a reduced price. Furniture was first added to the IKEA product range in 1947 and, in 1955, IKEA began to design its own furniture. The company motto is: “Affordable Solutions for Better Living”.
At first, Kamprad sold his goods out of his home and by mail order, but eventually a store was opened in the nearby town of Älmhult. It was also the location for the first IKEA “warehouse” store which came to serve as a model for IKEA establishments elsewhere and on March 23, 1963, the first store outside Sweden was opened in Asker, a Norwegian municipality outside Oslo.