Ivanka Trump Poaches Kate Spade’s High-Profile E-Commerce Boss
Ivanka Trump has hired Kate Spade e-commerce bigwig Johanna Murphy as chief marketing officer and head of digital for her self-named apparel and accessories brand.
Murphy will be charged with creating a Web and mobile experience that will bring Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, which up to now has been a wholesale business, direct to consumers. She will also be tasked with coming up with digital integrations if and when the brand opens its own standalone shops.
Murphy’s move, she admits, comes at an odd time; Kate Spade has received much praise recently for, among other things, its new Kate Spade Saturday brand and the partnership it struck up with eBay to allow New York shoppers to literally window shop via store windows that doubled as giant touchscreens.
But after a series of discussions that began with a cold call from Trump, Murphy decided this was an opportunity worth leaving for.
“For someone who does what I do, it’s our dream,” she said of the digital freedom she’ll have at Ivanka Trump. “At big brands, e-commerce is important and everyone gets it, but you still have to deal with all the store stuff and multichannel stuff. But this is a white canvas with the room to do whatever we see fit. And [Trump] has the appetite to experiment, which I love.”
Trump’s fashion endeavors began with a fine jewelry line that is sold at a boutique in New York City and Beijing. At the same time, the fashion and accessories efforts up to now have consisted of a wholesale business that sells footwear, handbags and perfumes to department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. The brand will soon add an apparel line.
“When you look at traditional fashion brands that start in an offline way, their online presence, with the exception of a few, is weak; it still feels like an afterthought,” Trump said in an interview. “It was really important that my CMO have digital experience, and she is the rare combination of being a true chief marketing officer, but not at the expense of not having a technical side.”
Prior to Kate Spade, Murphy held senior roles at GSI Commerce, now called eBay Enterprise.