Ivanka Trump said Tuesday that she is closing her fashion brand because it has become too difficult to navigate the ethics rules in place to avoid a conflict of interest while working for the White House, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“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,” Trump told the Journal. “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”
The full picture of the brand’s financial state is not public, but it appears the apparel sales fell after a sizable boom during the 2016 presidential election.
Some part of that decline can likely be attributed to decisions by several retailers to stop selling her products. Nordstrom Inc. and Hudson’s Bay both discontinued the brand, citing poor sales, possibly in part due to a boycott of Trump clothing by some shoppers. Neiman Marcus Group and T.J. Maxx also said they would scale back the products or change their display.
Speaking to the Journal, a spokesman for Trump said the decline is primarily due to the unusually high sales right after her father’s election.
Trump stepped back from the running of the company after she joined the White House, but she continued to profit from the company, leaving her, like others in her family with complex business relationships, a White House role, and many potential conflict of interests.
Financial disclosure forms filed in June showed that the trust that controls her clothing brand brought in more than $5 million in income for her in 2017.
Since Trump joined her father’s administration, the brand has twice raised questions of ethical violations. In February 2017, after Nordstrom dropped Trump’s label, the president angrily tweeted that his daughter was being treated “so unfairly.” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway followed his ethically dubious complaint with her own White House ethics rule violation by going on Fox & Friends with a defense of the brand. “I’m going to just give it a free commercial here,” she said. “Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”