"No one could have predicted the success": Ivanka Trump shutters her eponymous fashion brand

"I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington," Trump said

Published July 24, 2018 1:48PM (EDT)

Ivanka Trump   (AP/Markus Schreiber)
Ivanka Trump (AP/Markus Schreiber)

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, is shutting down her eponymous fashion brand. The news comes roughly one year after the first daughter stepped down from her company to serve as a senior adviser at the White House.

The brand's 18 employees were notified Tuesday that the business would be shuttering for good. The first daughter said she plans to focus on her position in Washington.

"When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve," Ivanka Trump said in a statement. "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, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners."

The Ivanka Trump brand, which sells clothing and accessories, including handbags, high heels and perfume, saw an uptick in sales over the last year, current president Abigail Klem said.

"Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best-performing weeks in the history of the brand," Klem said in a March 2017 statement. "For several different retailers, Ivanka Trump was a top performer online, and in some of the categories it was the . . . best performance ever."

As a White House adviser, Ivanka Trump has faced criticism over possible conflicts of interest, which have put her brand at the center of boycotts and protests. The brand was notably booted from Nordstrom and Hudson's Bay in recent months, with those department store chains attributing the decision to poor sales performance.

More recently, the first daughter's brand obtained seven new trademarks in China as her father continues to negotiate trade with Beijing, resulting in criticism from some ethics experts. The president of the Ivanka Trump brand said in a statement at the time that the fashion line regularly files for trademarks, "especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant."

Throughout her tenure at the White House, Ivanka Trump continued to receive a share of her company's profits despite stepping down from her leadership role within the organization. The financial disclosure form she filed in June revealed that the majority of her assets, which are worth more than $50 million, were kept in a trust that holds her business and corporations. That trust generated more than $5 million in revenue last year.

Ivanka Trump's brand has also come under intense scrutiny for overseas manufacturing. The vast majority of Ivanka-branded clothing shipped to the U.S. since Election Day in 2016 has been manufactured in Asia, according to a NBC News analysis.

The first daughter's announcement came exactly one day after the president held the second annual "Made In America" event at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It spotlighted goods made in all 50 U.S. states, according to CBS News.

"The more we make things in America, the stronger America becomes," he said Monday at the White House.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the closure of Ivanka Trump's brand on Tuesday afternoon.

By Shira Tarlo

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