Beginning in the mid-2000’s and coinciding with Trump’s popular reality-TV show, The Apprentice, Trump started selling his name for use on a myriad of at least 30 different brands, with licensing deals in countries all over the world.
Among the many products: coffee, vodka, mattresses, chandeliers, crystal, steaks, cologne, home furnishings, bed linens, blankets, lighting and mirrors, clothing, wallets, belts, cufflinks, eyeglasses, and even a Trump-branded urine test to determine which Trump vitamins you needed.
There were even Trump-branded shoes in Mexico in the works at one time, which failed before any were ever sold.
Many of the products had already disappeared before Trump ran for President. His brand was overexposed, and Trump was undermining his own success by “label-slapping,” according to one luxury brand consultant.
“Donald Trump doesn’t really know anything about coffee or urine tests, so he’s built this brand, this incredible brand, but he’s diluting it at the same time, because he’s trying to make a fast buck, and not building for the long term,” says David Fahrenthold.
He was still making some $2.4 million-plus per year in 2015 just for selling the use of his name to 19 different licensees. By 2017, that annual number dropped to $370,000.
When Trump began his campaign and started using divisive rhetoric, disparaging Mexicans and Muslims in particular, many of his business partners left him.
Now the demand for most of the Trump-licensed products is virtually gone, and those that remain are available for low prices on the secondary market. The prestige the brand once enjoyed has plummeted since Trump took office.
“Once the political campaign started, the wall went up,” said Marshal Cohen, who measures retail business trends for the NPD Group. “The wall that he [built] was more around his merchandise than it was around Mexico.”
The Washington Post reports that only two companies are still selling Trump products: One in Panama and a Turkish company. Ironically, it’s in Panama City where Trump is involved in a serious dispute. His name has been stripped from the Trump International Hotel, and Trump attorneys have reportedly threatened Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela with repercussions if he doesn’t side with Trump.
While Trump sells his own products, like T-shirts, teddy bears and key chains, the interest in using his name on other people’s products has all-but vanished.
On the other hand, at Mar-a-Lago and his Washington D.C. hotel, he’s raised other serious ethics concerns as he monetizes political alliances and quite possibly violates the Emoluments Clause of the constitution, a dispute that will eventually be resolved in court.
See more about his products, including the urine test below:
More from The Washington Post below:
Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube