With an expanding signature collection of her own, an executive role at the Trump Organization and a father who’s poking the political hornet’s nest with his decidedly non-PC style, it’s safe to say Ivanka Trump has a lot going on.
Accustomed to operating in overdrive, the Wharton grad is now suiting up 3,500 Trump Hotel staffers in uniforms she designed. Trump handles design and the creative vision for the company’s nine existing properties and four yet-to-be-opened ones in Baku, Azerbaijan; Rio de Janeiro; Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. She also serves as executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization. With two young children and an equally ambitious husband in Jared Kushner, the self-described “American wife, mother and entrepreneur” may represent a different sort of bold-faced paradigm in the fashion business. While that alone is something of a feat, it is not a moniker the former model acknowledged in any way during an interview last week.
Speaking about her new uniform designs, Trump very much stayed on message. While she has cheered on her father Donald’s take-no-prisoners presidential bid to her nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers and 582,000 more on Instagram, she wasn’t about to engage on political matters. “I am not involved with the campaign. No, I work at the Trump Organization.” (Trump was even more succinct, when asked if she and her friend Chelsea Clinton ever talk politics, preferring not to comment.)
Her own company includes apparel, accessories, footwear, handbags, fragrance, fine jewelry, scarves, belts, hats and swimwear. Trump said, “Just like any business, it’s a lot of work. You need great people, a strong viewpoint and ambition. I’m never naïve to how much work something takes. But I sort of don’t know how to operate on a different speed, so that’s fine by me.”
Designing men’s wear for the uniforms was a first for Trump, who also created outerwear for doormen, but that category is not one she plans to pursue immediately. There is “a tremendous opportunity in children’s,” and home and beauty (beyond fragrance, which she already has) are other possibilities. Her company has attracted prospective buyers, but she said, “I have no interest in selling my brand. I get approached all the time. I have zero interest — the trajectory of the business has been incredible and I’m confident that will continue. We’re just getting started.”
As for how long her typical work days tend to run, Trump said, “Quite long, I think I’m quite efficient: I make sure to be home every night to be with my children and to put them to bed except when that’s unavoidable. I’m often up at two o’clock in the morning responding to the e-mails that I couldn’t get through when I ran out the door to make it home in time for dinner. That’s a compromise I am very happy to make.”
At the Trump Organization, she works with her father and two of her brothers, Donald Jr. and Eric. “We don’t often strongly disagree. We work incredibly well together. I have found with family businesses there tends to be one or two results – either everyone gets along amazingly well or it’s a complete disaster. We get along incredibly well. We love each other. We trust each other. And we all work really hard.” she said. “We have a lot to contribute. When we do disagree, often that yields a better result because it’s a discussion. We all bring unique and individual viewpoints to the table.”
Noting that the most successful people she knows “would work if they don’t have to. They love what they’re doing and they just work harder as a result. They care about the details. I look at super luxury building: the difference between great and excellent is attention to details. You can’t have that unless you really love it. You’ll delegate to other people. I always encourage people, especially when they’re really young, to try a lot of different things. Don’t settle until you have found what it is that you love doing.”
Referring to her own widely varied, round-the-clock way of life, Trump said, “I think the chaos is amazing. I don’t think I would want it any other way.”