One of the most wonderful parts of getting to know more about some of today’s top new jewelry designers is that so many of them have such interesting stories as they struggled to succeed and build their businesses. One of the most interesting jewelry designers of our time has to be a woman who doesn’t need to work: that is Ivanka Trump, daughter of billionaire Donald Trump.
She’s a fascinating young woman, born with more than the usual advantages and/or burdens. While most of us think of being super-rich, beautiful, 5’11” and blonde as an advantage, it could be that living life in a fishbowl, having a famous dad that many people don’t even like, and facing immense preconceptions anytime you meet someone could be a burden.
Somehow this child of privilege avoided the pitfalls of drug abuse, reckless partying and other destructive self-indulgences that many in her situation fall prey to. Instead become a successful woman in her own right.
I have followed Ivanka more closely since Tres Mariposas expanded our fine jewelry business last year. She graduated summa cum laude from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. At only 32, this former runway and print model is a writer, mother of two adorable young children, and executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization.
Her life took a different direction in 2007 when she founded her own line of fine jewelry in 2007 and opened her first flagship retail store on Madison Avenue.
Far from being a plaything of the idle rich, her line is exquisite, saleable fine jewelry that appeals to confident American women. As our jewelry business has grown, we had the opportunity to choose among the best and the finest fine jewelry lines consistent with our focus on fashion and quality, and Ivanka Trump Jewelry fit our criteria.
Much of Trump’s jewelry line is inspired by her passion for travel, architecture and design. One of her most popular collections at Tres Mariposas has been the “Metropolis Collection.” This line of 18kt yellow gold and diamond jewelry was inspired by 1920s Art Deco architecture in Ivanka’s favorite metropolis, New York.
So how does she pull all of this off? I got a glimpse of what drives her from her book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” published in 2009. As with most people, when they describe what influences shaped them, it was family expectations. “In the Trump household, it was never just about meeting the expectations of others,” she wrote. “It was about exceeding them. It was about surprising people.”
For instance, she describes being incredibly apprehensive before a board meeting, knowing she would be in the company of middle-aged men who saw her as young and inexperienced. As she became accustomed to being underestimated, she made it an advantage.
Now, when asked about not being taken seriously because of her family name and her beauty, she responds as she did in a Forbes.com interview, “Bring it on.”
In the same interview she shared her top three style tips for women at work: context, modesty and femininity. “If you work in a law firm, you can’t wear the same thing you would wear if you worked at an ad agency,” she said. “Understand what is appropriate for your industry and in terms of how much skin is being shown.”
She went on to say how much her own style of dressing has changed at work. “My office style has changed pretty drastically, and a lot of it became being comfortable with expressing femininity in a way that, when I was younger, I was nervous about,” she added. “I was almost afraid to be feminine on the job, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. I wear pink to the office now, whereas when I was 22, I was nervous to wear anything other than a black pinstripe suit.”
I’m guessing that whatever she wears these days, she makes it all look better when she adds her beautiful jewelry!