How IKEA got its Name and the Name of its Products
When one hears the word “IKEA,” he immediately thinks of luxury couches and mahogany tables. IKEA has become synonymous with furniture. The word itself sounds like a tongue twister that could be said five times fast, “IKEA, IKEA, IKEA, IKEA, IKEA.” The store’s name may sound funny, but it does have meaning.
IKEA is an acronym created by its owner, Ingvar Kamprad. If you may have noticed, his first and last names make up the first two letters: I and K. The other two letters are dedicated to his home in Sweden. He grew up on a farm named Elmtaryd and lived in a village called Agunnaryd. These places make up the E and A. Basically, IKEA stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Aggunnaryd. This may not be the most exciting way of choosing a furniture store name, but it signifies the company IKEA is. Kamprad dedicated his company. to his home. At his store, he sells furniture so customers can make a home for themselves.
Interestingly enough, all of the products at IKEA have names, too. Of their over 12,000 products, all of them have a name. This is because Kamprad’s learning disability, Dyslexia, made it difficult for him to read item codes. Each section in the store has a category for its names. Most of these categories have something to do with Scandinavia. For instance, fabrics and curtains have Scandinavian girl names. Desks and chairs have Scandinavian boy names. Even though IKEA is a Swedish company, the rest of Scandinavia is included in the naming process. Their rugs are named after Danish towns. For example, Sonderod is a small town in Denmark with a population of 4,291. IKEA sells a blue and black rug called the “Sonderod.” By naming their products after Sweden and surrounding countries, IKEA draws more attention to Scandanavian life and culture.
Sometimes IKEA breaks its own rules by choosing its own name for furniture. One of IKEA’s most popular products, “Billy Bookcase”, was named after an employee, Billy Likjedhal. Another popular item is the “Poang Chair.” The original name of this chair was “Poem,” but it was changed in 1992. The word “Poang” means point or argument in Swedish. This is yet another product that names do not fit in its category. But the popular bed, “Malm” is named after a Norwegian village, which fits its category. Bedroom and living room furniture are named after Norwegian places.
Some categories even have their own names. Outdoor furniture is named after Scandinavian Islands. Outdoor sofas are called “Solleron” which is named after the largest island in Lake Siljan. “Matsholmen” are outdoor coffee tables named after the island in Sweden of the same name. Some products follow these names, while others have island names of their own. Like the couch, “Havsten” is named after the island of Havsten in Sweden.
Ultimately, IKEA is unlike any other company, and that’s a good thing. They have great furniture, reasonable prices, and a unique outlook on how to run a company. This is reflected in the way they name their furniture, and in the store’s name.