Ivanka Trump says she’s decided to close up shop on her eponymous fashion brand.
“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business,” Trump, who is the president’s eldest daughter and a senior adviser, said in a Tuesday statement, “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.”
When she took her position at the White House last year, Trump had separated herself from the company she founded in 2014, placing it in a trust managed by her brother-in-law, Joshua Kushner, and her sister-in-law, Nicole Meyer.
The move did little to curtail calls for boycotts of the brand, which sold apparel, jewelry and accessories, amid controversies surrounding the president and Trump’s role in her father’s administration.
Last year, the commander in chief ripped Nordstrom after it announced it was dropping his daughter’s clothing line. “My daughter has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom,” the president tweeted in February 2017.
The retailer cited lagging sales as the reason behind its decision to nix Ivanka Trump products from its stores.
Last week, Canadian-based retailer Hudson’s Bay said it was phasing out Trump’s brand “based on its performance.”
But the head of Trump’s company maintained last year that sales were strong in the weeks after the president took office.
“Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,” Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump fashion brand, told Refinery29 in an interview last year.
One of the reasons behind the move was Trump’s growing frustration “by the restrictions she placed on the company, IT Collection LLC, to avoid possible conflicts of interest while serving in the White House,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
In the first month of the new administration, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway got in hot water after promoting the clothing line during a TV interview.
Americans, Conway said during a Fox News appearance, “should buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
“I’m going to give it a free commercial here,” Conway added, “Go buy it today.”
The remarks prompted two lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to send a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.
Conway reportedly later apologized to the president, with the White House saying she had acted “inadvertently” and been “counseled” about the matter.
Klem told the Journal that the company’s 18 employees were told Tuesday that the fashion line would be shutting down and that Trump was poised to meet with staff that same day about the decision.
“When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve,” Trump, 36, said in her statement.
“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,” she said.
BY JUDY KURTZ – 07/24/18
Aris Folley contributed.