Ivanka at the 2015 Forbes Women’s Summit
Hear from Ivanka on her favorite moments from the day.
From Ivanka: Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of speaking on a panel at the Forbes Women's Summit with my friend Jennifer Hyman, founder of Rent the Runway, and Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. It was incredible to discuss entrepreneurship with these two innovative, ambitious, talented women. Each year Forbes brings together a select, hand-picked group of influential women across industries and invites a handful to speak. I was honored to have been asked to join Jennifer and Sara on the Building Entrepreneurial Capital panel. Gayle King moderated the discussion, wearing a dress from Rent the Runway, Spanx and two different Ivanka Trump shoes—she loved both so much she couldn't choose! I was in head-to-toe Ivanka Trump. My dress will be available in August (stay tuned!), and you can shop my Charlotte Satchel at Bloomingdales and find similar shoes at Nordstrom. Shop my earrings at Neiman Marcus. It was an engaging, thought-provoking conversation, in which several excellent points were made:
The best ideas come from problems
Inspiration struck Jennifer when her sister bought a $2000 Marchesa dress—and wore it once. Her super-successful fashion rental company was born. Sara bought a pair of white pants, but hated the way her underwear lines showed through. She cut the legs off a pair of pantyhose, and they turned out to be the very first iteration of Spanx. My brand came from the need for affordable, stylish, quality clothing and accessories that actually appealed to and excited the next generation of women who work—a group who was shockingly underserved in the market.
Investors need to take female entrepreneurs seriously
Jennifer pointed out that only 4% of venture capital funding goes to women. When she was pitching her then-tiny startup to investors in 2008 (when that statistic was even lower) she would rattle off data and numbers, because she could tell investors doubted her analytical abilities. One (male) investor even called her "adorable." Rent the Runway is now valued at over $600 million.
It’s not always about making a name for yourself
I never felt the need to make a name for myself apart from my family’s. I always wanted to work in real estate and I see The Trump Organization as the best company to work for in this field. Working at my father’s company means being part of something incredible—why would I want to separate myself from that?
Prove them wrong
After developing a Spanx prototype, Sara struggled to find a manufacturer who would take on her now billion-dollar idea. As Gayle put it, "Isn't it so nice to be underestimated and over-deliver?" I'm so grateful for the experience and left the summit feeling energized and full of ideas. See a video of the full panel on on Forbes.