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The Ivanka Trump clothing brand is shuttering.
The first daughter started her fashion empire as a fine jewelry brand in 2007, and it grew to include moderately priced separates sold at department stores and on her own website, as well as licensed accessories.
“When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve,” Trump said Tuesday in a statement. “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, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”
“We are incredibly proud of the brand we have built and the content and product we’ve developed for our customers,” added brand president Abigail Klem. “Our platform has become an indispensable resource for our loyal community of women. We’ve seen strong sales since the brand’s inception, which continued through this year with the successful launch of our rapidly growing e-commerce business.”
The fashion label, reportedly valued at $100 million, has been under fire since even before President Donald Trump took office and Ivanka moved to Washington to become a special advisor to the White House.
In January 2017, the brand generated controversy after it promoted a $10,000 bracelet she wore during a 60 Minutes interview the Trump family gave after the election.
Later that month, to answer criticism over potential conflicts of interest and comply with U.S. government ethics guidelines, Trump officially stepped away from her brand. But she continued to play the role of fashion plate in her new home in Washington, documenting on her social media channels her outfits in a manner similar to a fashion magazine and wearing Ivanka Trump styles on the international stage.
In February 2017, the brand made headlines when Nordstrom dropped it based on poor sales, and Neiman Marcus became Trump-free soon after.
After Nordstrom decided to stop carrying the collection, Donald Trump tweeted that his daughter was treated “so unfairly” and accused the retailer of caving to the pressures of a “Grab Your Wallet” boycott that called on shoppers to stop buying all Trump family brands.
“Ivanka Trump’s tie to the President bashed her brand in the teeth from an avalanche of hate,” Eric Schiffer, chairman of crisis management firm Reputation Management Consultants, told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Trump critics took credit for the news. “This is people power at work. This is using your voices and your hard earned money to push back on extremism. You are saying no to the hate that the Trump administration embodies. You are #GrabYourWallet and this is your win,” the movement’s founder Shannon Coulter shared on Twitter. Coulter launched #GrabYourWallet in 2016 as a response to then-candidate Trump’s controversial comments about women.
In addition to launching e-commerce, the Ivanka Trump brand in December opened its own boutique within Trump Tower in New York City. In recent months, the collection also has been selling at Bloomingdale’s, Amazon.com and Lord & Taylor, but the latter’s parent Hudson’s Bay Company announced earlier this week plans to drop it, citing “performance.”
According to a spokesperson for the Ivanka Trump brand, the decision to shut it down “has nothing to do with the performance of the brand and is based solely on Ivanka’s decision to remain in Washington indefinitely.” Product will continue to be produced and sold through the end of all licensing agreements, which includes the sportswear manufactured by G-III Apparel Group, jewelry, footwear and handbags.
Another interesting tidbit from the press materials provided is that, before stepping away from the brand in 2017, “Ivanka received several lucrative offers, but she determined that selling the brand was not something she could agree with since a third party likely would not have adhered to the restrictions she put in place.”
The background materials also seem to imply that the first daughter’s inability to promote the brand, due to ethics guidelines, may have affected its performance. According to a spokesperson, “The brand’s initial structure was built around a growth model. When Ivanka resigned from the brand, the restrictions placed on the brand limited the brand’s ability to grow — both domestically and abroad. After 17 months, without a time frame for her return, Ivanka made the difficult decision that to be fair to the brand’s partners and its employees, the business should be wound down.”
“Ivanka will continue to defend and protect the brand’s name against third parties looking for opportunities to exploit the name,” added the spokesperson, while leaving the door open for another business model. “We cannot predict what Ivanka chooses to do in the future, but any other business endeavors she pursues will be unrelated to this brand.”
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