Ivanka Trump's Japan Trip Is To Advocate For Working Women — And Good For Her Business, Too
Ahead of her father's visit to Japan, Ivanka Trump was there to speak at the World Assembly for Women conference, where she advocated for women's participation in the workforce. According to a Washington Post report, the first daughter's visit also might benefit the Ivanka Trump fashion label in Japan. Companies that import her clothing line there have said that they've seen a surge in sales since the election, and her trip to Japan has resulted in even more interest in Ivanka Trump products.
“Inquiries and orders for the brand increased dramatically from January, and during the busiest period, more than 10 customers contacted us each day because they heard about Ivanka,” Tamana Kawanishi, manager of Chez Ibiza, a clothing shop in Tokyo, told The Washington Post. “We received zero inquires before the election.”
Likewise, an online Japanese store called Waja sold six Ivanka Trump clothing items before her father was elected president. In 2017, Waja's Ivanka Trump clothing sales averaged about 600 a month. “I think people who saw the news about Ivanka’s visit to Japan are checking our website and buying,” Yukie Suzuki, a spokeswoman for the store, told the Post.
Trump's business dealings have come under scrutiny ever since it was announced in March that she would become a West Wing adviser, meaning that she would have to adhere to rules that prevent federal officials from profiting off holding public office. Americans continue to have worse perceptions of Ivanka Trump's clothing line and Trump Hotels than any other brand in the United States; a recent YouGov consumer perception survey found the Ivanka Trump brand fell to the bottom 10 of more than 1,600 brands that were analyzed.
As a way to distance herself from her company, Trump resigned from day-to-day operations and rolled the company into a trust overseen by her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner. She also called off a major business deal with a Japanese apparel company, Sanei, after she learned that the brand was backed by the Japanese government, according to a New York Times report. Trump's business dealings with China are even murkier: An Associated Press investigation found that the identities of companies involved in 90 percent of shipments of Ivanka Trump's clothing brand were unknown, meaning that there is no public information about whether or not the Chinese government could be trying to influence the White House through her fashion line.
After the inauguration, Ivanka Trump's eponymous fashion label suffered in the United States as a result of pushback against President Trump's policies and public perception of the Trump family. After the #GrabYourWallet campaign sparked a movement to boycott stores that carried Trump products, several high-end clothing stores, including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, have either stopped carrying Ivanka's brand due to "poor sales" or quietly removed her items from their websites.
One of President Trump's top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, also sparked outrage and accusations that she had violated federal ethics rules when she encouraged Fox News viewers to buy Ivanka Trump products. "Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I was [saying] — I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway said in an interview on Fox & Friends.
"This is just [a] wonderful line," Conway added. "I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."
The brand did manage to turn a profit post-election: The company said its sales were up 21 percent last year, according to Bloomberg. The brand's order growth dropped steadily from 771 percent in February 2017 to 6 percent in July, however; by August, order growth was down negative 1 percent compared to the same month last year, according to Racked.