Roosevelt Institute | Cornell University

Trump Impacts His Daughter's Business

By Sarah FoxPublished April 2, 2017

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In the wake of the Trump presidency, clothing retail stores have been faced with an unique struggle. In the last few months, many stores have mixed Ivanka Trump's clothing lines with other products, or in some cases dropped it entirely, provoking outrage from both Ivanka and Donald Trump and impacting the clothing retail market.
by Sarah Fox

In the wake of the Trump presidency, clothing retail stores have been faced with an unique struggle. In the last few months, many stores have mixed Ivanka Trump's clothing lines with other products, or in some cases dropped it entirely, provoking outrage from both Ivanka and Donald Trump and impacting the clothing retail market.

 On February 2nd 2017, Nordstrom dropped Ivanka's brand shortly after executives sent out an email to their employees regarding Trump's executive order to ban travel from seven Muslim countries and diversity within the Nordstrom community. Nordstrom argued they took this action because the line was not profitable in previous years and that they have to "make business decisions based on performance." Critics of Nordstrom's plan of action claim that the retail clothing store dropped the line because of their dislike for Trump. Trump tweeted six days later about the store's decision and its "clear unfair" links to politics.

When a big luxury retailer like Nordstrom dropped Trump's brand, it had a domino effect on other stores. Neiman Marcus then reportedly dropped Trump's jewelry brand from their website and pulled  it from a couple of stores. Belk, a store and online retailer, stated that Trump's brand will only be held in flagship stores. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls's executives told their employees to mix in Trump's brand with other products" ShopStyle, a shopping search engine, has removed the brand completely from the website to "allow higher performing products greater visibility on [their] platform." Major retail stores dropping Trump's brand is mainly based on business reasons, as commented on in each of the company's statements, but may have other causing factors, such as political reasons— that would not be spoken of or written of— and consumers' preferences.

 On the consumer side, customers have boycotted Ivanka Trump's line by mobilizing social media, using the hashtag #GrabYourWallet. This boycott aims to not only motivate people to stop buying her brand, but also to stop shopping at retail stores that carry her line. This movement has more than 50,000 supporters and continues to grow as support for Trump declines. Organized by marketing strategist Shannon Coulter, this campaign is declaring victories whenever a retail store drops a line of the brand. They want to bring attention to their, and certain other populations of the United States, dislike for the whole Trump family, even if Ivanka's brand has nothing to do with Donald's presidency.

Ivanka has not commented on this issue, but has repeated in previous statements that her brand was made long before Donald decided to run for president. She vowed when her father started to campaign to keep her business separate from her father and his presidency.

 All companies that dropped Ivanka's line do not claim they did so to protest the new president; they instead claim their decisions were motivated by purely business reasons. It will be interesting to see what would happen if stores continue to drop the Ivanka line. How would Ivanka's company fair under such business conditions, and would the Trump presidency intervene into the retail market? If anything, the Ivanka line controversy is another reminder that, when analyzing business trends, it is important to take into consideration non-economic factors, such as the political environment.