And how many of these womyn boycotting Ivanka have supported Broaddrick, Jones or Wiley? Yeah, didn’t think so.
From Cosmopolitan Magazine: Lindsey Ledford, a 29-year-old student at the University of Maryland-University College, is a self-described “Maxxinista” who shops at her local College Park, Maryland, T.J. Maxx at least three times per week. But about a week ago, her favorite store abruptly lost her business: Ledford was checking out a black blouse with a stripe down the center when, suddenly, she felt like her throat was closing and she couldn’t breathe.
“My first thought was, Grab them by the pussy. We can do anything we want. Don’t even ask,” Ledford told Cosmopolitan.com.
The blouse was triggering traumatic flashbacks to physical abuse she’d suffered in the past, and to times she’d been grabbed or groped by men without her consent. “None of them ever asked how I felt, what I was thinking, or what I wanted. They didn’t wait,” she wrote in a flurry of tweets at T.J. Maxx after fleeing the store. “That is what ‘Trump’ means to me,” she told me: complete disregard for women and their bodies. “It doesn’t matter if Ivanka’s name is in front of it, or Donald’s.”
Ledford is now one of a passionate group of women joining forces to boycott both the Ivanka Trump fashion and accessories brand and, unless they drop Ivanka’s line from stores, the retailers who carry it. The list includes T.J. Maxx, Amazon.com, Zappos, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, DSW, Macy’s, Marshall’s, and Saks Off Fifth. “As much as I love shopping at T.J. Maxx, I can’t stomach seeing that name front and center,” she said. “Supporting a brand — Trump — that condones sexual assault and makes excuses for it is wrong.” (Ledford also logged a complaint with a phone call to customer service; she said a rep politely listened and promised to pass along her feedback.)
The boycott was hatched on Twitter by Shannon Coulter, CEO of a boutique marketing agency in San Francisco, on October 10, in the wake of Trump’s now-infamous Access Hollywood tape; since then, Coulter’s tweets about the boycott, including tweets aimed at the retailers who carry Ivanka Trump products, have earned an estimated 1 million impressions on Twitter, according to her analytics report.
For a long stretch of the campaign, “[women] were ready to give Ivanka a pass because she’s his daughter and it’s hard to be objective about your dad. But the Trump tape just sent people over the edge,” Coulter told me. “I think [women] took particular offense, as I did, to the fact that Ivanka tries to make feminism a part of her brand but is standing by, as an official campaign surrogate, a guy who is an alleged serial sexual assaulter of women. The disconnect was too big. And they were ready to speak up about it and flex their consumer power about it.”
Though Ivanka insisted this week at a Fortune Most Powerful Women event: “I am not a surrogate. I’m a daughter,” the lines between Ivanka and her father’s incendiary politics have been blurred beyond recognition for some former fans and customers. Ivanka and her eponymous line are “inextricably tied to a movement that denigrates women,” Amy Andelora, a 52-year-old high school teacher in Mesa, Arizona, told me.
Days after the tape’s release, Andelora tweeted a plea to Neiman Marcus, asking the retailer to remove Ivanka’s line. She is also boycotting her favorite store, Nordstrom, where she says she formerly spent “hundreds of dollars per month,” because, similar to Ledford, she felt triggered by a pair of Ivanka shoes.
“It’s a visceral response, when I see the name ‘Ivanka’ nestled inside a shoe,” she said. ”The man who assaulted me used almost exactly the method Donald Trump described in his conversation with Billy Bush. I can’t see a Trump-related label without remembering what happened to me three years ago in a house I couldn’t escape.”
Though some customers are defecting, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous line — an estimated $100 million operation in the last fiscal year, according to a July report in Forbes — has thrived in spite of her father Donald Trump’s wildly controversial presidential campaign. (Trump has made damning comments about women, Mexican and Muslim immigrants, and Gold Star families, while Ivanka, an executive vice-president at the Trump Organization, has consistently defended him as a “feminist,” insisting she knows him to be different.) As a private company, the Ivanka Trump brand does not release sales or profit numbers. But an Ivanka Trump brand PR representative told Cosmopolitan.com that sales and revenue grew 37 percent over 2015.
“Over the past year many more women have discovered and become loyal to the brand, leading us to experience a significant year over year revenue growth,” said Abigail Klem, chief brand officer through the representative.
According to annual and quarterly reports by her licensing company GIII, sales at the Ivanka Trump brand grew $29.4 million over last year, and increased $11.8 million in the last six months. “Whether or not people are saying good things or bad things, her name is getting out there,” Madeline Hurley, a retail industry analyst at market research firm IBIS World, said. “She can’t really pay for the press that she’s getting.”
But for some, the fact that Ivanka’s business has appeared to profit from the exposure of the Trump campaign is all the more reason to boycott. “[Ivanka] is supporting one of the most offensive, sexist, racist, xenophobic human beings to ever run for president,” Ledford said. “She is making a buck off it.”
Though Ivanka said at this week’s Fortune event that she’s “always tried to maintain complete separation between [her brand] and the campaign,” Ledford and others point to what they feel is a notable example to the contrary: after introducing her father at the Republican National Convention (in a speech filled with traditionally Democratic policies like equal pay, paid leave and affordable childcare), Ivanka tweeted a Macys.com link to buy the blush-pink shift she was wearing from her collection with the line: “Shop Ivanka’s look from her #RNC speech.”
“Do I think it’s appropriate for her to tweet out a link to where you can buy the dress that she was wearing? No, definitely not,” said Dini von Mueffling, founder of an eponymous public relations and strategy agency in New York. “Instead of tweeting about her dress, I think the message that she should have put out there was how honored she was to be part of a moment in our nation’s history, and to be part of trying to improve the lives of Americans everywhere.”
Gloria Ratcliffe, once a faithful customer, threw out a pair of Ivanka Trump pumps after another of Ivanka’s high-profile campaign appearances — when she attended the second debate in support of her father, just days after the release of the now-infamous tape. Ratcliffe also decided against buying bridesmaids dresses for her spring wedding from Nordstrom, as well as shoes for the wedding party from DSW, because both carry the Ivanka Trump brand.
“My wedding is a day of love. I’m not going to wear clothes that represent hate,” Ratcliffe said. “[Trump] doesn’t respect women at all, and I’m not giving my money to people who are supporting him, because it’s going to inevitably end up in his pocket.” (Ivanka’s line is a sub-brand of the Trump Organization).
So far, none of the retailers who carry the Ivanka Trump brand have dropped the line in response to the boycott. Cosmopolitan.com reached out to 12 retailers; only two replied. A representative for Nordstrom said: “We have received some feedback from customers, though we don’t currently have plans to stop offering this brand.” (When asked about the nature of that feedback, the representative didn’t answer). Zappos declined to comment.
But Coulter and the women boycotting Ivanka’s brand aren’t giving up. Ledford, for instance, is still steering clear of T.J. Maxx: In addition to voting for Hillary Clinton and donating to her campaign, Ledford feels the boycott is another way of taking concrete political action. It’s “something I can do to say ‘enough is enough,’” she says. “I can not give my money to them.”
Coulter continues tweeting, every day, multiple times per day, and calling retailer customer service lines to complain about the Ivanka brand. She says she has received backlash for the boycott on Twitter — some men, in particular, argue that Ivanka shouldn’t be held accountable because they believe she’s being manipulated by PR people or by her father.
“I don’t think that’s true,” Coulter said. “She’s the head of an international, $100 million dollar a year brand. She’s sophisticated. I think she’s smarter than Donald Trump. Part of why I started the boycott is because I respect her as a businesswoman. We should hold her to a higher standard.”