Can Ivanka’s Brand Withstand the Trump Campaign?
Ivanka Trump has spent years cultivating her personal brand to appeal to young, cosmopolitan, working women. Her shoe, clothing, and accessory line is aimed at serving this demographic, and her blog features the hash-tag #womenwhowork alongside advice on beauty and parenting.1 However, her father’s presidential campaign has undoubtedly affected the value of Ivanka’s brand. Recent allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump have caused some millennial women to boycott her line altogether.
Earlier this month, Shannon Coulter, the CEO of a San Francisco boutique marketing agency, launched the #GrabYourWallet hash-tag on Twitter, encouraging shoppers to boycott the younger Trump’s brand. Coulter’s tweets, aimed at voters and retailers who carry Ivanka Trump products, have received over a million impressions on Twitter.2 Coulter is one of a growing group of women who have joined forces to boycott the Ivanka Trump brand and retailers who carry it. These retailers include T. J. Maxx, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Marshall’s.
Ivanka Trump has joined her father on the campaign trail, addressing his support for working mothers and citing her own company as an example. While Ivanka Trump’s 12-person business claims to offer eight weeks of paid leave to new mothers, the same cannot be said of the company hired to produce her clothing line. G-III Apparel Group offers just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the legal minimum for companies with over 50 employees.3 This policy departs from Trump’s campaign pitch on how businesses should support mothers who work.
Donald Trump’s campaign has also called attention to the widespread outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. This has brought unintended scrutiny upon Ivanka’s shoe line, which is manufactured in Chinese factories. Employees at this factory have complained of sixteen-hour workdays, illegally low overtime rates, and delayed wage payments. 4 This is particularly problematic in light of Donald Trump’s disparaging comments against U.S. companies who have moved work overseas.
Ivanka Trump is not the only Trump brand affected by millennial distaste for Donald Trump’s rhetoric. The newest line of Trump hotels, geared towards the millennial demographic, will no longer bear the Trump name.5. Instead, the line has been branded as “Scion.” Trump Hotels has said this name change has nothing to do with Trump’s presidential campaign. However, peak season rate reductions and empty rooms at prominent Trump hotels may indicate otherwise. Nightly rates at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. fell below $500 a night, while sales at other five stars hotels, such as the nearby Four Seasons Hotel, have remained robust.6
Ivanka Trump has spent years building her business based on her appeal to young, working women. However, this demographic has not been won over by her father’s campaign. Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by an average of 23 points nationwide among white women with college degrees.7 Only time will tell if Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will have a lasting effect on Ivanka Trump and her lifestyle brand.