NEW YORK — Ivanka Trump is fine-tuning her brand, and that process begins with her New York flagship.
This story first appeared in the September 4, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The socialite-turned-designer and businesswoman will open the doors to her SoHo store on Thursday, unveiling a new retail format that will house all her brand’s offerings under one roof.
Launched last November as a fine jewelry boutique, which displayed some of Trump’s other collections in limited quantity, the store will now integrate the full Ivanka Trump offering. This includes shoes, bags, apparel, and in the spring, eyewear and fragrance.
“When we first opened the boutique, it was a pure fine jewelry store. We had a limited amount of handbags and shoes, and we put them in the store to speak to the lifestyle element of the brand,” Trump told WWD. “They were more props, more for decorative purposes. One of the things that is very important to me is cohesiveness.”
That cohesiveness is a precursor to becoming a lifestyle brand, Trump explained, adding that the idea to reformat the store was pushed by Geoffrey Hess, the company’s new president of fine jewelry. Hess jumped into the role following Andrea Hansen’s departure in June after a three-year stint at the company. An attorney and founding member of Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm headed by former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Hess has been tasked with growing the already ever-expanding brand to global markets, such as Asia, the Middle East and Russia.
Launched in 2007 as a fine jewelry collection, Trump added footwear through a partnership with Marc Fisher in 2010. The same year, she inked a licensing deal with Mondani to introduce handbags. A year later, she introduced outerwear with Fleet Street Ltd., and this year, she started an apparel collection with HMX Group.
Her retail distribution extends to more than 500 exclusive national and international retail partnerships in the U.S. and abroad. Currently, Trump’s merchandise is carried at retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s and Zappos.
Although the company declined to provide annual sales figures, it did highlight footwear and handbags as two of its fastest growing categories. According to the brand, footwear sales “more than doubled” this year over last year. It expects to double its business again in the next year.
Handbag sales have increased 135 percent from spring 2012 versus the prior-year period. Next year, bag sales are expected to grow another 40 percent.
“I think we’ve really found a niche that’s feminine,” Trump said. “Overtime, we’re looking for a bigger retail objective. There’s a tremendous opportunity to grow abroad and at retail here.”
The SoHo store will serve as a sort of archetype for other stores should Trump ramp up retail expansion. At the reopening Thursday, the brand will hold a runway show featuring four aspiring models. Selected by Trump herself, the models will face off in a strut off à la “America’s Next Top Model,” and the winner will get a modeling contract with Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.