Ivanka Trump already has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, but that’s nothing compared to the 20 million viewers who watched her being interviewed with her father, US president-elect Donald Trump, on 60 Minutes.
As the founder of jewelry and fashion lines, Ivanka Trump’s role as a style “influencer” can help raise the profile—and sales—of her companies. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that, after her Nov. 13 appearance on 60 Minutes, her jewelry company sent out a “style alert” promoting a bracelet she wore during the nationally televised interview. It advertised her “favorite bangle,” which is part of her Metropolitan Collection and costs up to $10,800.
The move raised a few eyebrows. It became a talking point on TV news shows, and a screenshot of a press release sent by the line’s vice president of sales has been circulating on Twitter.
One of the big questions facing Trump and his family is how they will avoid conflicts of interest between the vast constellation of their businesses and their role as America’s first family. The presidency is an incredibly powerful platform, not just for policy change but also for public visibility—which, in the age of “influencers,” often doubles as marketing.
Trump has said he will put three of his children (including Ivanka Trump) in charge of his companies while he is in office, but critics have raised questions about family members inappropriately using their public roles for financial benefit. The Trump family has all sorts of businesses that could get product placements over the next four years. Will President Trump stay in his hotels during his travels, or play a few holes on his own golf courses now and again? Will Ivanka Trump wear her own label at state dinners?
Following the reaction to the press release about her bangle, Ivanka Trump’s company said it is still adapting to the new situation it finds itself in. “This notification was sent by a well-intentioned marketing employee at one of our companies who was following customary protocol, and who, like many of us, is still making adjustments post-election,” Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said in a statement. “We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.” What that may look like is still unclear. The brand said it had no further statements.
It’s not unusual for America’s first ladies to promote brands in their choice of clothing, jewelry and shoes. Indeed, Michelle Obama made a point of championing young designers including Jason Wu and Christian Siriano. Some have predicted that Ivanka Trump will become more vocal and visible during her father’s administration than his wife, Melania Trump, who has expressed reluctance to step into the spotlight.
“Ivanka has long been followed for her style and she connects well to her fanbase, more so than the future First Lady,” says Daniel Saynt, cofounder and CEO of Socialyte, an influencer marketing agency. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the face the fashion industry praises as the initial shock of a Trump presidency subsides, skipping over the robotic and seemingly stoic Melania for covers.”
The 60 Minutes interview isn’t the first time her company has invited followers to shop Ivanka Trump’s look. She wore her own line for her big speech at the Republican National Convention in July, and then her brand tweeted a link to followers linking to a Macy’s page to buy the same sheath dress.
Of course, the political spotlight could cut both ways. Those disgusted by Donald Trump’s policies and his comments about groping women without consent are boycotting Trump brands, including Ivanka Trump’s, using the hashtag #GrabYourWallet.