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What Really Killed Ivanka Trump, Lifestyle Brand?

July 25,2018 04:10

Ivanka Trump, the person, has chosen to humanely put down Ivanka Trump, the brand, The Wall Street Journal reports. Abigail Klem, the company's new president, told all 18 employees that it was shuttering. Cause of death? Abandonment by its namesake.


By Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images.

Ivanka Trump, the person, has chosen to humanely put down Ivanka Trump, the brand, The Wall Street Journal reports. Abigail Klem, the company’s new president, told all 18 employees that it was shuttering.
Cause of death? Abandonment by its namesake. She said 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.” Or maybe it’s neglect. Trump stepped down from her daily duties at the company when her dad took office, though she still benefited financially from it.
Or maybe the cause of death is a conflict of interest, as it was smothered by all the restrictions placed on it thanks to its namesake position as her papa’s adviser. Restrictions like “ordering the company not to expand internationally and to seek her approval before striking agreements with new domestic partners,” according to the W.S.J. To wit, the brand had to turn down a deal with Sanei International during the presidential transition that would have expanded the line into Japan after it learned Sanei International’s parent company had ties to the Japanese government.
Maybe it starved by boycott, like Shannon Coulter’s #GrabYourWallet campaign, which lists retailers that carry Trump products that consumers are encouraged to boycott until they stopped carrying the line. Not to mention the untold others who refused to buy after reading reports of alleged human-rights abuses and conditions at the Chinese factories as reported again and again. (Klem, the brand’s president, said of one factory in question that Trump products hadn’t been made there since March 2017 and that “the integrity of our supply chain is a top priority and we take all allegations very seriously.”) Nordstrom, Belk, Burlington, and others dropped Ivanka Trump from their online and brick-and-mortar stores. Most credited poor sales with the decision. G-III went so far as to quietly re-label items under the brand name Adrienne Vittadini Studio and sell it to Stein Mart without the Trump brand’s knowledge, per a Business of Fashion report. Death by imposter, then.
But death knell wasn’t necessarily resounding. For a while there, it was a healthy lifestyle brand. In 2016, during the election, G-III, the company that licenses Ivanka Trump ready-to-wear, reported a sale surge on its annual report. Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Amazon, and Zappos still sold the brand, but then, while it doesn’t release sales numbers, the W.S.J. reports that sales at those sites “fell nearly 55 percent in the 12 months to June, compared with the year-earlier period, according to Rakuten Intelligence, which gathers email receipts from 5.5 million U.S. consumers.”
Whatever the reason, her sheath dresses and Instagram anodyne will be interred somewhere in the dying retail landscape soon. May it be gone, but not forgotten. May we remember the lesson of yet another Trump brand unnecessarily mismanaged into the ground, an Icarus in sensible heels that flew too close to the sun.

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