Even while her father, Donald Trump, has alienated many women.
Those who can’t get enough Trump books have some good news to celebrate — another one is in the works. This one, however, comes not from the presumptive Republican nominee, but from his daughter Ivanka, the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for the Trump Organization and founder of the Ivanka Trump brand.
The book, Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success, will be published next spring. In a video announcement, she refers to the book as a “labor of love,” one that sets out a vision for working women and teaches them how to achieve work-life balance.
“Today’s generation of working women is the first to be able to unabashedly embrace the fact that our lives are multidimensional,” she said in a statement. “We’re deeply invested in our careers, but they don’t solely define us. For us, it’s about working smarter, not harder; integrating our personal passions and priorities with our professional goals in order to architect lives we love.”
The book is named after the Ivanka Trump brand’s signature initiative, whose official website gives working women pointers on a multitude of topics, from tips on wearing spring prints to the office to how to craft a last will and testament. It also features contributions from high-powered female entrepreneurs and executives.
It’s her second foray into the literary world, with the book The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, published in 2009. That self-help book received a respectful review from the Publisher’s Weekly, saying “she owns her privilege, acknowledges her advantages and then sets about disabusing readers of their presumptions with intelligent, well-conceived, positive advice.”
What does this mean for Donald?
It certainly can’t hurt for the Trump name to be associated with the promotion of working women. Despite The Donald’s claim that he “was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women,” the public perception of him as a champion of women’s rights is not widespread. In fact, one could say that his reputation among women in general is in critical condition, thanks to multiple incidents that have taken place over the years, including most recently his on-again, off-again feud with Megyn Kelly.
According to a recent analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, women on his campaign staff are paid one third less than the men, while the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pays its male and female staffers equally. It all adds up to a presidential candidate whose unfavorable rating with women is 70%, according to a poll conducted by the Gallup organization.
Time will tell whether this will have any effect on votes cast in November, but right now it’s a good thing for the Trump brand to have a highly placed woman in the family organization, particularly one whose poised, disciplined demeanor contrasts sharply with that of her somewhat less polished father.
“She carefully considers her words when she speaks; she’s measured and thoughtful,” environmental planner Suzanne Hill told the Chicago Tribune after meeting with Ivanka to discuss a hotel project in Washington, D.C. “She is very different from her father.”
Not just the boss’s daughter
It’s tempting to characterize Ivanka as a little rich girl with a cushy, inconsequential job at daddy’s company, but it simply isn’t the case. In fact, that’s a talking point that she’s been squashing like a mosquito for years, through her words and actions.
“If people think I’m just the boss’s daughter, they’re deceived,” she told the New York Times in 2007. At the time, the then-26-year-old’s resumé included appearances alongside her father on his reality show, “The Apprentice,” modeling for magazine covers and fashion shows and, of course, real estate development. That would have been enough for a lot of people, but she was just getting started.
In 2007, she founded the Ivanka Trump brand and launched Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, whose target demographic is professional, self-made women who like to treat themselves, not just the men who like to buy them gifts. Next she founded her eponymous fashion label, whose look is professional and appropriate for the office, without ever losing its panache.
The 34-year-old mother of three has since grown her brand into what it is today. According to its official website, it’s “a lifestyle concept dedicated to women who work,” and it’s easy to see that she’s in the process of methodically building it into something of her own.
The struggle is real
Ivanka Trump is not alone among those who have taken the Martha Stewart route to found their own lifestyle brands. However, those waters can be choppy, even for the most poised and articulate. In April, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that 20,000 Ivanka Trump-branded scarves would be recalled for violating the U.S. Federal Flammability Standard.
Worse yet, the scarves had been manufactured in China, the country that her father has characterized in less than flattering terms in his stump speeches. But hey, as the currently beleaguered Honest Company’s Jessica Alba can tell you, even the success stories have their share of bumps in the road.
Time will tell if Ivanka Trump has what it takes to take the Trump name and transform into one that appeals to women, minorities and millennials. After all, Dad’s not getting any younger, and someone will have to navigate the 21st century’s emerging markets when the time comes. And who knows? If her father is elected president in November, she’s been rumored to be the one who will run the Trump Organization while he’s in the Oval Office.
Whatever happens, she’s uniquely positioned to carry the Trump name into the future, long after the 2016 election is a memory.
Daniel Bukszpan is a New York-based freelance writer.