Although it’s customary for the President of the United States to divest his or her personal holdings prior to assuming their official role, businessman Donald Trump has defied said precedent during his first term by maintaining his properties and investments throughout. Yet, while first daughter Ivanka Trump did so with her fashion brand when she initially joined the Trump administration as a senior advisor, she ultimately shuttered her business in July 2018 in an effort to focus her attention on political matters.
“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington,” Ivanka told the Wall Street Journal. “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”
Abigail Klem — who assumed Ivanka’s role as president after the brand’s namesake left — noted she was “incredibly proud of the brand we have built and the content and product we’ve developed” (via Business Insider). “We’ve seen strong sales since the brand’s inception,” Klem added, “which continued through this year with the successful launch of our rapidly growing e-commerce business.” However, while Ivanka claimed her brand’s demise was the result of her focus on Washington, D.C., fashion insiders claim the clothing and accessories line went under for political reasons, too. In fact, analysts believe there might have been numerous factors at play when it came to Ivanka’s decision.
Apparently Ivanka Trump's brand never resonated with its target market
When Ivanka Trump first dipped her toes into the fashion industry with her jewelry line, the eldest Trump daughter likely intended to establish a brand that would appeal to her specific demographic — millennial career women. However, as Racked‘s Elana Fishman claimed, Ivanka’s designs were “overpriced, poorly constructed, and unflattering on anyone who doesn’t share Ivanka Trump’s exact body type.”
And major retailers likely noticed the line’s lagging demand long before Ivanka announced its demise, as high-end department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus quietly phased out the brand citing poor performance as their primary motivation. While Ivanka’s aspirational brand was likely meant to appeal to her generation, much like reality TV’s Kylie Jenner’s lip kits appeal to hers, the first daughter missed the mark by skewing toward shoppers who mirror her own financial status. And as Meredith Clark wrote for NBC, those “who have benefited most from Trump’s election don’t need to buy the knockoff version of an $800 shoe, because they can afford to buy the original.”
“Ivanka Trump has proven, in both her business and her time in the White House, that she has no idea if — or more likely no interest in — what millennial women actually want or need,” Clark added. Plus, when you stop to consider how the brand’s ethics issues looked under a spotlight cast by socially conscious millennials, it’s easy to understand why Ivanka’s target market was inclined to boycott — not buy — her goods.
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