At a T.J. Maxx discount shop in the shadow of New York’s Queensboro Bridge, there’s little sign of Ivanka Trump’s fashion label. But she’s there. Dangling next to a bright red Fossil handbag is a single, blush-leather Ivanka Trump satchel. A flip of the tag reveals a $129 price, about the same as the other bags on the rack. Spread among the jumble are items by Guess? Inc., Nine West Group Inc., Steve Madden Ltd., and even a decidedly cheaper option from the Jessica Simpson Collection.
Somewhere along the way, though, Ivanka Trump went downmarket. Her label now represents a much more modest image, perhaps recognizing exactly where on the retail continuum her products truly reside. At its heart, Ivanka Trump is a celebrity brand, not a designer fashion house, industry analysts say. It’s the messy discount rack, not the gleaming glass jewelry case. Her company’s moves over the past few years reflect that. And as it turns out, targeting the masses has worked.
“Celebrities, as a branding tool, appeal more to the mass than luxury,” said Allen Adamson, the New York-based founder of consulting firm BrandSimple. “The further downmarket she goes, the more horsepower her brand potentially has.”
Her executives decided to nix the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry Collection in March in order to create a more cohesive brand. Gem-laden necklaces at $10,000 didn’t make a whole lot of sense for a brand that also peddles discount heels at DSW–a low-price shoe warehouse. In its place is a “fashion jewelry” collection sold at Lord & Taylor stores and online. There’s no solid gold or diamonds: Some items are available on sale for as little as $11.