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Ivanka Trump to shut down namesake brand

Jul 26, 2018 United States
Ivanka Trump to shut down namesake brand
According to the first daughter, this decision will allow her to focus all her energies on her role of adviser to President Donald Trump. Ivanka Trump has started her namesake fashion brand in 2007
“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 Trump said in a statement, adding: “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”

Ms. Trump had started distancing herself from the brand back in 2017, around the time of her father’s election, placing the company in a trust that, from what is reported on disclosure forms from June, is worth over 50 million US dollars and allowed her to earn 5 million US dollars in 2017. This arrangement, however, had raised questions on whether she had done enough to take her distance from the brand, seeing as she still retained a significant financial interest in it.

Although the first daughter indicated her political career in Washington as the main reason for pulling the plug on the brand, another reason might be the constant scrutiny the brand was put under. A spokesperson for the label said “the brand worked with ethics counsel to ensure that all [Office of Government Ethics] guidelines were adhered to and that the brand avoided the appearance of conflicts and took steps beyond what was legally required. When Ivanka resigned, the restrictions placed on the brand limited the brand’s ability to grow — both domestically and abroad”.

Nevertheless, some clear cases of conflict of interests happened, with Ms. Trump always wearing pieces from her own line to official events prompting employees from her brand to promote them. For this reason, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that was deeply questioning what it called the Trump family’s blurring of business interests and government work, offered muted approval for Ms. Trump’s move. “While this is a notable step in the right direction, it’s a small one that comes much too late”, it said.

What could make an additional motivation to the first daughter’s decision, is that clothing items are among the 200 billion US dollars in imported Chinese goods that the White House has said face tariffs that could take effect as soon as September. Indeed, many Ivanka Trump products are manufactured there. Still, Abigail Klem, the President of the Ivanka Trump brand, said in an interview this was not the case.

Finally, what might have been quite a big issue and might have prompted the decision to shut down, despite the denials from the brand, is that the company was underperforming. As a matter of fact, President Trump’s election caused backlash for her daughter’s business. Indeed, Nordstrom reportedly dropped the brand because of political controversies and, at the same time, the brand also became the subject of a major boycott campaign (#GrabYourWallet), inspired by sexually explicit comments the president made in 2005. This caused numerous stores, among which Neiman Marcus and TJ Maxx, to discontinue the line or scale it back significantly.

On the closing of her own fashion brand, Ms. Trump commented: “I am beyond grateful for the work of our incredible team, who has inspired so many women; each other and myself included. While we will not continue our mission together, I know that each of them will thrive in their next chapter”.

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