Ivanka Trump rewrites the book on success
It’s no doubt a grand time to be Ivanka Marie Trump.
This summer, she has gotten engaged, celebrated the second anniversary of her jewelry boutique with a new line of 18K yellow gold adornments, had her first book published and opened Trump’s stellar new Hawaii property. And in January, she’ll return to prime time as an adviser on the third season of her father’s reality TV hit, The Celebrity Apprentice.
Yet pigeonholing Ivanka as an over-achiever is a fairly off-base statement. She’s simply living up to her potential.
Mega-mogul Donald Trump and jet-setter ex-wife Ivana raised their heirs to be conscientious, hard-working contributors to society. That disciplined parenting approach is now literally paying off as Ivanka – along with brothers Eric and Donald Jr. – heads the globally growing Trump Organization.
The ambitious, career-focused beauty is far from a 27-year-old figurehead who simply adds charisma to the corporation. While Ivanka’s striking looks and stature landed her on catwalks and fashion magazine covers as a teen, it’s her razor-sharp intelligence and innate business savvy that currently dazzle in the boardroom.
A summa cum laude graduate of the prestigious Wharton School of Business, Ivanka was intent on affirming her professional prowess on her own terms. Rather than dive directly into Trump’s trenches, she first dug her heels into the retail-development division of Forest City Ratner Enterprises.
Shouldering the expectations that come with her iconic surname, however, it was inevitable that she’d move on. In 2005, Ivanka joined her family’s organization to bolster the Trump Hotel Collection brand. Now, Ivan-ka serves as executive vice president of Development & Acquisitions for the colossal Trump real estate empire.
Cream of the Crop
Engaging in multiple management aspects of Trump projects, including Waikiki’s swanky new landmark, Ivanka is up to her elbows in deal evaluations, pre-development planning, construction, sales and marketing – further proof that she shares her father’s propensity for lucrative multitasking.
While the Trump Hotel Collection boasts 13 elite properties, including top-tier addresses in Las Vegas, Chicago and NYC, its 38-story Waikiki flagship is the cream that has risen above the crop from a sales standpoint.
“That was very exciting for us,” Ivanka tells HILuxury. “It’s great validation of the effort and hard work that went into designing the project in accordance with our very high Trump standard. People obviously responded extremely well.”
Those fortunate enough to purchase one of the 464 hotel condominium units that disappeared in a brisk eight hours – including studios in the mid-$600,000 and even a three-bedroom penthouse topping the $5 million mark – helped set a $700 million world record for dollar and unit volume sold in a residential development on a single day.
“This is really our first resort project,” she explains. “So it sets the bar high and sets the tone for the level we hope to accomplish with our hotel flag in the resort-type market.”
Ivanka and company ensured that, from an aesthetics standpoint, architects Guerin Glass and Benjamin Woo and interior designers Suzanne Nessel and BALS Corporation targeted beyond the bar. Nuances leave no doubt you’re in Hawaii – from a cascading waterfall and two-level ocean view lobby to tapa-patterned wood paneling and hand-painted Hawaiian murals.
“One of the things we look to do with each of our projects is make them contextual,” Ivanka explains. “We look to accomplish a level of customization to share the experience of the local market. So people who are visiting the one in Hawaii will feel like they’re in Hawaii.”
Tower residents also will be able to indulge in cutting edge cuisine from celebrated executive chef Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak and pampering at The Spa at Trump.
Another signature touch, the Trump AttachÃ©TM service, maintains a detailed guest history, ensuring that no stay feels like the first and no request needs repeating.
“We created a customized experience based on guest feedback during their visit,” Ivanka explains. “That’s shared by all of our hotel properties to make sure we recognize and remember the likes and preferences of each guest.”
All That Glitters
Outside of real estate, the 2007 launch of the Ivanka Trump Collection in her Madison Avenue jewelry boutique further validates Ivanka’s keen entrepreneurial skills and impeccable standards of style.
Her infatuation with fine jewelry was undoubtedly inspired in part by her fashionista mother. Yet Ivanka also champions the notion that price shouldn’t prevent diamonds from being a girl’s best friend, even in designs bearing her personal stamp.
“One of the things when I started with this venture from a positioning standpoint was to really create a brand that was luxurious and still accessible to a diverse range of consumers,” she explains.
With the tagline “The time has come to rock tradition,” Ivanka’s collection does just that by blending timeless appeal with youthful, modern panache.
“There’s a widespread array of price points in the inventory,” she says. “We have everything from entry-level pieces starting at a few hundred dollars (affordable by fine jewelry standards) all the way to pieces that are north of a million dollars.”
Putting a practical spin on a luxury item, Ivanka has styled many of her pieces to be worn in multiple modes: reversible earrings revealing either black or white diamonds, or earrings with removable charms that can accentuate a necklace.
The introduction of her 18K yellow gold line couldn’t have been better. Coinciding with the second anniversary of her retail venture, it garnered bonus limelight with September’s global Fashion’s Night Out fete hosted by Vogue.
“Within a very short period of time, despite the rather dismal marketplace for deluxe jewelry, we’ve had great success with the Ivanka Trump Collection,” notes Ivanka. “We’re growing a wholesale platform that will be launched into higher-end retail across the country in very short order.”
Media Mogul-Ette In The Making
As NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice approaches its third season, viewers can once again prep to witness the working dynamics among Ivanka and the senior and junior Donalds.
“The fact that we were NBC’s No. 1-rated show after so many seasons is a great testament to that fact that we’ve kept it fresh, and that people are very interested in viewing it,” Ivanka says.
Sure, their interactions are intriguing. But it’s the highly anticipated ruthless antics of the reality show’s notable competitors that usually fuel high drama and ratings. Who could possibly upstage last season’s winner, Joan Rivers, and professional poker player Annie Duke?
Without giving anything away, Ivanka only offers, “With each subsequent season, the quality of the celebrities gets better, and the excitement on the show gets better.”
In addition to appearing on TV, Ivanka also now has a book credit to her list of media experiences. Ivanka’s Simon & Schuster-published The Trump Card, an October release, recounts her upbringing as the ultimate apprentice and offers insights that have postured her as a rising star in the business world.
“I noticed most of the books in the marketplace are written from the perspective of middle-aged or older gentlemen,” she says. “So I think that’s a little less accessible and a little less relatable to people of my generation who are on their first or second job, or in college.”
Ivanka describes it as a peer-to-peer advice book. “It really tells some of the experiences I’ve had from a vantage point of almost like an older sister,” she says.
In June, Ivanka hopped onto the Twitter social media bandwagon to tweet Trump portfolio updates.
“It’s just a fascinating medium and a very exciting way to keep people current on the different things we’re working on,” she remarks. “It can’t be too self-promotional. It has to be fun – talking about things like managing the business mixed with random thoughts.”
Surprised to learn that she tallied some 40,000 fresh followers over a four-day period in late August, she laughs and says “Twitter exposes me as being an atrocious speller!”
However, she says, “If I’ve jumped that much, I guess people are responding well to it.”
Indeed they are, with another 100,000 having tuned in by Labor Day. Aside from occasional 140-character snippets on perusing construction sites and finalizing spa designs, followers have been privy to Ivanka’s leisure pursuits, which are as diverse as her Trump responsibilities.
Summer found Ivanka salmon fishing in Alaska, racing cars in Texas, taking in a Counting Crows concert, cooking her way through Chicken Rosemary, and offering flick picks and pans such as Inglourious Basterds (“a totally crazy movie”) and GI Joe (“wasn’t thrilled about it”).
No doubt her most jubilant Tweet was on July 16, announcing that she and New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner will be walking down the aisle together.
If the power pair opts for a Hawaiian honeymoon, accommodations will be a breeze, as Ivanka has also purchased a unit in Waikiki.
Face Of The Future
It’s safe to expect more staggering accomplishments from this mogul-ette in the making. Taking a page from The Trump Card when looking to the future, Ivanka says, “One of the things in being entrepreneurial is that by nature, there’s always a new opportunity and new passion that springs up. What I know is that I’ll continue to be very involved in real estate at The Trump Organization and that it will continue to be my primary focus as it is today.”
She adds, “And in terms of ancillary ventures, I’ll continue with my jewelry company and additional books. I guess the sky’s the limit.”