Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, is closing her namesake fashion brand, a year after she separated herself from the company and took a role as a senior adviser in the White House.
“When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve. 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 said in a statement on Tuesday. “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”
She added, “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.”
First reported by The Wall Street Journal, sales of the Ivanka Trump line soared during the 2016 presidential election, as some retailers including Nordstrom and Hudson’s Bay began stopping selling her products, citing deteriorating sales. The company became a lightning rod for critics of her father’s policies, with one anti-Trump group named #GrabYourWallet began last year by urging shoppers to boycott stores selling Trump-branded goods. Retailers began distancing themselves from the line, with Neiman Marcus Group and T.J. Maxx changing the way they began displaying Ivanka Trump products in stores, by taking down in-store promotional signage and relegated Ivanka’s lines to their back racks. Since then, It had recently rolled out an e-commerce platform to capture shoppers moving online.
The president of Ivanka Trump’s line, Abigail Klem informed its 18 employees Tuesday morning of the company shut down. Ivanka is set to address the staff later in the day in New York.
“I know that this was a very difficult decision for Ivanka and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have led such a talented and committed team,” Klem said. “We are incredibly proud of the brand we have built and the content and product we’ve developed for our customers.”
Ivanka first ventured into the fashion business in 2007, when she started selling a line of jewelry. The Ivanka Trump brand — which sells accessories like handbags, perfume and high heels — saw strong sales growth after its inception in 2014.
For months, Ivanka was contemplated shutting down the company due to the frustration of the restrictions placed to minimize conflicts between her duties as a White House adviser and her financial interests as a business owner. The ethics restrictions she implemented included ordering the company not to expand internationally and to seek her approval before striking agreements with new domestic partners. She separated herself from the management and operation of the company, but retained ownership interest through a trust.
According to Rakuten Intelligence, online sales of the Ivanka Trump brand that was sold at Amazon, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Zappos fell nearly 55% in the last 12 months, compared to the year-earlier period. During the 2016 election, the brand saw its apparel sales boom. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from G-III, in the year ended Jan. 31, 2017, net sales of Ivanka Trump-licensed apparel rose 61% to $47.3 million from the prior year.
The fashion brand will continue its licensing agreements, including G-III Apparel Group Ltd, the clothing company behind names like GUESS, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s until it expires in the coming months or until items are out of stock, while continuing to file a trademark application for certain instances.
The company’s spokesperson said the decision from Ivanka to close down her clothing line was based off her decision to remain in Washington indefinitely and had nothing to do with the sales performance.
“This decision has nothing to do with the performance of the brand and is based solely on Ivanka’s decision to remain in Washington indefinitely,” the company statement reads, adding the “strict limitations on the business” were put in place when Ivanka separated from management to fulfill her duties in Washington.
According to a financial disclosure filed last month and released in June, the Ivanka Trump brand was valued at over $50 million and brought in more than $5 million in income in 2017.