Ivanka Trump’s Brand Takes Beating as Consumer Boycott Gains Momentum

“The stores that we love are directly profiting from a campaign that we consider hateful,” Shannon Coulter, organizer of #GrabYourWallet boycott, tells TheWrap

Last Updated: November 1, 2016 @ 10:18 AM

Three weeks ago, Lindsey Ledford, a student from Maryland, walked into her favorite T.J. Maxx store. She was about to buy a T-shirt when she noticed it was part of the Ivanka Trump collection.

“It was cute,” she told TheWrap. “The style, the aesthetic, I really liked it. But then I saw the label and I thought, ‘Absolutely not!'” Ledford’s reaction was so visceral, she said she has not been back to the store since.

Ledford is one of tens of thousands of consumers who have joined the #GrabYourWallet campaign, a three-week-old grassroots boycott aimed at stores that sell Trump-related products, specifically those made by the controversial GOP presidential nominee’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

As of Monday, #GrabYourWallet has garnered nearly 119 million impressions on Twitter, according to Retweet Rank. That number includes retweets from high-profile celebrities like Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen, writer Joyce Carol Oates, Valerie Bertinelli, Lucy Lawless and Oscar nominee Don Cheadle.

The boycott was started on October 11 by Sue Atencio, a 59-year-old grandmother, and marketing specialist Shannon Coulter, who said they were shocked by a Trump’s recently unearthed interview with “Access Hollywood” in which the then-reality TV host bragged about his sexual conquests of women and his ability as a celebrity to “grab them by the p–sy.”

“Ivanka markets what she wears on the campaign trail,” Coulter told TheWrap. “The stores that we love are directly profiting from a campaign that we consider hateful.”

Boycotters are calling on 21 major retailers — including Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and T.J. Maxx — to dump Ivanka Trump-branded merchandise, which racked up $100 million in sales in 2015.

So far, none has agreed to do so; Nordstrom sent this statement: “We have heard from some customers and we don’t currently have plans to stop offering this brand.”

Reps for Ivanka Trump did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But in an interview last week with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she dismissed the boycott, telling George Stephanopoulos that “the beauty of America is people can do what they like, but I prefer to talk to the millions, tens of millions of American women, who are inspired by the brand and the message that I’ve created.”

Ivanka Trump has become one of her father’s most visible surrogates on the campaign trial, often advocating for women’s issues. While introducing her father at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer, she vowed that her father would be a strong supporter of working mothers.

But for consumers like Ledford, Ivanka’s advocacy for women stands in stark contrast to her father’s history. “She’s positioned herself as a champion for women’s issues and that’s what really pisses me off,” Ledford said. “She is profiting off the very demographic that her father is insulting.”

Critics also charge that Ivanka Trump’s statements have been undercut by an August report in the Washington Post finding that G-III — the company that manufactures and distributes her clothing line – doesn’t offer paid maternity leave to its employees.

Some have also questioned her decision to hawk her clothing line while on the campaign trail. She used her prime-time RNC speech to sell one of her own dresses, tweeting her more than 2.1 million followers immediately following her speech where they could buy the dress she wore at the podium. The peach-colored frock, which retailed for $138, quickly sold out at both Nordstrom and Macy’s.

Ruth Alexander, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, said she too is boycotting her favorite store, Nordstrom, simply for carrying the Ivanka Trump line of clothing, jewelry and accessories.

“As an Australian, I am of course, unable to vote in your presidential election,” Alexander told TheWrap. “What I can do however, is register my disgust for Donald Trump — and his surrogates — with my wallet.”

It’s hard to say what the long-term effect of a boycott will be. Ivanka Trump’s reps recently told Fortune that revenue climbed 37 percent for the first half of fiscal 2016 over the previous year, and monthly visitors to her website surged by 50 percent.

But a recent Morning Consult survey suggested that her association with her father’s campaign could be starting to take a toll on business: 57 percent of women said they would not even consider buying her products.

Marketing experts say that it’s highly probable Ivanka’s brand will have the same trajectory as her father’s after the election.

“As the Trump brand goes, so goes the Ivanka brand,” Chad Kawalec, founder of the L.A.-based The Brand Identity Center, told TheWrap. “Her credibility as a businesswoman comes directly from the fact that she is Trump’s daughter. He has put her in the boardroom of his company and his TV show very publicly.”

Ivanka’s customer base did not seem to penalize her for the words and actions of her father for much of the campaign — until the release of his now-infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording last month.

Critics note she she took 10 days to respond to his lewd remarks, finally telling Fast Company: “My father’s comments were clearly inappropriate and offensive and I’m glad that he acknowledged this fact with an immediate apology to my family and the American people.”

Those hoping for a stronger rebuke were disappointed.

“I am Hispanic,” Karmine Masson, an Indiana claims representative who joined the boycott, told TheWrap. “I have a nephew who’s gay and I’m a woman. I can’t in good conscience support a store that carries this brand.”