The Ivanka Trump boycott appears to have backfired.
One month after several brand name retailers announced they would no longer carry the 35-year-old’s clothing and accessories, Ivanka Trump’s women’s fashion line has seen record February sales.
The collection said they had some of the highest performing weeks since the brand was launched last month. “Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,” Abigail Klem, the company's new president, told Refinery 29. “For several different retailers Ivanka Trump was a top performer online, and in some of the categories it was the [brand’s] best performance ever.”
E-commerce aggregator Lyst confirmed the report, stating that from January to February, Ivanka Trump sales increased 346%. It also found that February 2017 brand sales had increased by 557 per cent when compared to average orders in 2016. The brand was ranked as no 11 in sales on Lyst for the month of February, a sharp increase from no 550 in January.
“Ivanka Trump brand has never ranked in as a top seller on our site,” Sarah Tanner, Lyst's US public relations director, said. “To see such an extreme spike in one month is completely unheard of and came as a huge surprise to us.”
The news of a sales surge comes after the Grab Your Wallet campaign, highly critical of the Trump administration, asked shoppers to boycott retailers with any Ivanka or Donald Trump-branded products. As a result, Nordstrom announced in early February that it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump's clothing line citing poor product sales. Neiman Marcus also joined, and stopped carrying the first daughter's jewelry line on its website, while employees of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores were instructed to throw away any signage advertising her wares.
According to the Independent, the reason for the increase could be linked to Trump supporters explicitly deciding to purchase the products to counter the boycott. "I bought a pair of her shoes, they are great and classy just like Ivanka trump. Boycott all stores that drop her line," said one person on Twitter. "On behalf of the anti Trumper's and boycott Trump products . I Bought Ivanka Handbag. Shoes tomorrow," chipped in another.
In retrospect, the boycott may have revived what otherwise would have been a declining brand. In the beginning of February, the Wall Street Journal reported that sales of the range fell by nearly a third in the past financial year with a steep decline in the weeks before her father was elected President. The Journal cited internal Nordstrom data as showing sales of the products were more than 70 per cent lower in the second, third and fourth week of October compared to the same weeks the previous year. The presidential election was on 8 November.
Ivanka Trump announced in January she would be taking formal leave of absence from the brand after her father became president, saying she would “no longer be involved with the management or operations” of the company.
Ethics counselors advised that the company cease using images of Ivanka Trump in “new promotional, advertising, or marketing materials,” according to the profile piece on Klem. The guidance apparently doesn’t impact existing marketing materials, such as the company’s website. "It's unprecedented what this brand is dealing with,” said Klem. “We are really committed to having the brand be separate, even from [Ivanka], so certainly her dad is even more distant from that. We're committed to doing everything we can to carve an identity for this brand that is about what the brand stands for and the core brand attributes. And so absolutely, it complicated matters.”
For now, at least, what is clear is that attempts to punish Trump's daughter by hyping it up constantly in the press have backfired.