An impossible combination?
Ingvar Kamprad realised early on the importance of not only testing the quality of furniture, but also telling people about the high quality. There was, after all, quite a challenge in explaining how low prices and high quality could possibly go together. To help him, Ingvar had Erik Berglund, general manager and head of research at the. Erik Berglund and Ingvar corresponded extensively on the subject of quality, and this gave Ingvar ideas about how IKEA should communicate with its customers. To show how serious IKEA was about quality requirements, several pages in the catalogue soon came to focus on how the various pieces of furniture were tested. Long, detailed texts explained how upholstered furniture was pushed around by pistons and pressure plates, and how table tops were subjected to heat and spilt alcohol. The 1964 catalogue: “All so that we know we’re delivering a good product, and you know you’re getting one.” But could consumers really trust what a furniture company said about its own quality?