Today, July 24, 2018, approximately 623 days after her father was elected president (but who's counting?), Ivanka Trump has come to the decision to close her eponymous fashion brand, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reports that Trump made the decision "as she grew frustrated by the restrictions she placed on the company, IT Collection LLC, to avoid possible conflicts of interest while serving in the White House," which, when you think about it, is kind of hilarious considering her role as "senior advisor" in the White House is largely unnecessary and frankly an unprecedented form of nepotism.
Said restrictions included "ordering the company not to expand internationally and to seek her approval before striking agreements with new domestic partners," according to the WSJ; for example, the brand turned down a 2017 deal with Sanei International to expand the line into Japan, as Sanei International has ties to the Japanese government. They notably did not include moving production stateside so her products could be "Made in America," rather than in China, something which supposedly is an important priority to the administration for which she works.
The decision surely has little to do with the fact that, following widespread social media outcry about gaffes (such as an email push around a bracelet Trump wore in a televised interview and that time Kellyanne Conway promoted the line in a televised interview), retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus Group and T.J. Maxx all either dropped the line or quietly changed the name of the products to avoid association with Trump and her family. While the company is private and doesn't release sales numbers, here's a fun tidbit from the WSJ report: "Online sales of the Ivanka Trump brand sold at Amazon.com, Macy's Inc., Bloomingdale's and Zappos.com fell nearly 45 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."
(It's worth noting here that sales had been up 61 percent, or $47.3 million, the prior year through licensing partner G-III, a benefit of increased awareness during the election year.)
"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," she told the WSJ. "So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners."
A spokesperson for the brand notes that the licensing agreements will continue, and that it will continue to file trademark applications. "There's a responsibility to Ivanka to ensure that others are not exploiting her name," according to said spokesperson.
We'd feel bad for her, but reportedly Trump made an estimated $12 million in 2017 while working "for free" in the White House — a mere $5 million of which came from the Ivanka M. Trump Business Trust, which oversees the brand from which she "stepped down" in 2017 to avoid conflicts of interest. Her husband, future brother-in-law to Karlie Kloss Jared Kushner, made an additional $10 million in 2017, though when weighed against his reported debt of over $150 million, that sounds somewhat less impressive. We still think they'll fare slightly better than the millions of people currently suffering under her father's policies.