Business First Look

Why Ivanka Trump is moving away from fine jewelry

Ivanka Trump's former company will focus instead on 'fashion jewelry' at prices more accessible to the average shopper.

Lara Trump chooses jewelry at Ivanka Trump's store at Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 17, 2017.
Stephanie Keith/Reuters
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Say goodbye to the $10,000 Ivanka Trump brand bracelet.

Nearly two months after Nordstroms dropped the brand’s jewelry line amid poor sales, the fashion brand has announced that it will stop offering fine jewelry in its collection to focus on stylish but more affordable items, Vanity Fair first reported on Friday. The fine jewelry collection was the starting point of the fashion line launched by Ivanka Trump, which later expanded to include clothes, shoes, and handbags.  

Ivanka Trump’s eponymous brand, founded in 2007, has included items that cost up to $25,000. The decision to stop offering high-end jewelry is in line with the company’s stated goal of addressing the needs of modern professional women, according to company president Abigail Klem, who took over the day-to-day management of the company in January. Ms. Trump maintains her financial stake in the company.

“As part of our company’s commitment to offering solution-oriented products at accessible price points, we have decided to discontinue the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry collection,” Ms. Klem said in a statement to Vanity Fair. “We will be focusing our efforts on existing and new categories that are most relevant to our loyal customers – including fashion jewelry, which successfully launched last fall with price points that are aligned with the rest of our collection.”

The brand recently started a fashion jewelry partnership with Lord & Taylor, featuring items, including earrings and necklaces that mostly hover at or under $100, according to The New York Times.

The announcement came as the company is trying to reposition itself in the market after Klem took over in January. Sales of the brand have become increasingly entangled with the politics of President Trump, Ivanka's father. As a result, Klem said in an interview with Refinery29.com on March 7, the company is working to find its “second identity” for using the younger Trump's name. 

“We are really committed to having the brand be separate, even from [Ivanka], so certainly her dad is even more distant from that,” Klem told Refinery29. “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, [politics] complicated matters.” 

The shift toward a focus on the mass market could also be a result of the company’s attempts to better understand its consumer base. While the company has ordered new market research, Klem said it already knows a majority of its customers are women between the ages of 25 and 40, with annual salaries of about $60,000 to $100,000 a year. The company's three largest markets are in New York, California, and Texas, she said. 

But some have suggested that the rebranding is part of an effort to reach a broader customer base – the voters who elected Mr. Trump, who has called himself “the champion” of the working class. 

Ivanka Trump made headlines last November when her namesake company promoted the $10,800 bracelet she wore to an interview with “60 Minutes,” raising concerns about a conflict of interest. The spokeswoman for the fashion company later apologized. 

To avoid further potentially problematic entanglements for the company, Ivanka Trump removed herself from the leadership role. Yet, her involvement in the White House has come under more scrutiny as she continues to hold her financial stake in the company.

The decision also came amid reports that online sales of the brand surged last month, despite decisions by major department stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus to drop the line in January. According to British e-commerce website Lyst, sales of Ivanka Trump brand items jumped 346 percent from January to February this year, as The Christian Science Monitor reported on Saturday.

“Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,” Klem said. “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.”