Trump brand boycott gets louder with plans to protest Ivanka's line at the Bay
A group of Ontario women plan to dress up as Donald Trump and protest in Toronto
A group of women plan to dress up as caricatures of U.S. President Donald Trump and stage a protest this weekend at two Hudson's Bay stores in the Toronto area.
Their aim is to convince the Canadian-based department store to stop selling Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessories.
The protesters call themselves the "Peeved Beavers."
"Beavers" is inspired by the Bay's coat of arms, which includes four brown beavers. And the word peeved?
"We're peeved because they carry the Ivanka brand, but being peeved is attached to what that brand represents as well," says group member Amanda St. Jean.
To protest President Trump's deeply divisive politics, a grassroots campaign called Grab Your Wallet has been calling for a boycott of retailers carrying Trump merchandise. The campaign, launched in October, has been gathering steam as protesters get louder and more retailers drop Trump-related products.
The Bay has given no indication it plans to drop Ivanka Trump's line. "We respect our customers' right to choose the brands that work for them," the company said in an email to CBC News.
St. Jean and about 14 fellow protesters plan to hit two popular Bay locations this Saturday: Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga at 10:30 a.m., and Toronto Eaton Centre at 11:30 a.m.
They've decided to dress up as the new U.S. president to grab attention. They'll also carry signs thanking the Bay for its continued support of his daughter's brand.
"It's a very heavy time and so we thought something lighter might be helpful," St. Jean says about the satirical approach.
But she adds that the Bay continuing to carry Ivanka Trump's line is no laughing matter. "I think the [Bay] brand has a value on their books and it's slowly being eroded by everyday Canadians who are just saying, "This isn't right."
St. Jean and other boycotters oppose many of Trump's policies, from his stance on the environment, to his recent executive order on immigration and refugees.
Some have complained the boycott unfairly targets Ivanka Trump, punishing her for her father's controversial policies.
"You have issues with the father so take it out on the daughter. Pathetic," commented a reader on a CBC News story about the boycott.
But Ivanka Trump is closely tied to her father and his presidency, St. Jean says.
She also says she believes the first daughter has unfairly used her father's status to market products, pointing to a promotion put out by Ivanka Trump's company for a $10,800 US bracelet she wore during a 60 Minutes interview in November.
White House as QVC. It has started. <a href="https://t.co/jk0DeQJ9vV">pic.twitter.com/jk0DeQJ9vV</a>—@EricLiptonNYT
Ivanka Trump also sparked criticism when she plugged a dress from her collection that she wore to the Republican Party's national convention last July.
"She's politicized shopping — now we have too," says St. Jean.
A number of retailers have chosen to stop selling at least some Ivanka Trump merchandise or products sold under the Trump Home brand. They include Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Burlington Coat Factory, Sears and Kmart.
Shop Ivanka's look from her <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RNC?src=hash">#RNC</a> speech: <a href="https://t.co/ma42A92DYa">https://t.co/ma42A92DYa</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RNCinCLE?src=hash">#RNCinCLE</a> <a href="https://t.co/DwHvSOu8Ue">pic.twitter.com/DwHvSOu8Ue</a>—@IvankaTrump
ShopStyle, the global fashion search engine and shopping guide, recently removed all Ivanka Trump items from its search database. Like many retailers, ShopStyle blamed waning consumer interest.
"We are therefore removing Ivanka Trump products from our database to allow higher performing products greater visibility," a company spokesperson said in an email to CBC News.
Almost every night, Shannon Coulter, the creator of Grab Your Wallet, monitors for changes in the number of Trump products offered by online retailers.
She's currently watching to see if Bluefly will be the next to drop Ivanka Trump, noting that the brand's offerings on the U.S.-based shopping site have declined from hundreds of items to just 11.
"I'm just keeping an eye on that one," says Coulter, who lives in San Francisco.
Coulter started the boycott campaign in October after the release of Access Hollywood footage from 2005 where Donald Trump bragged about groping women.
But it's the controversy over Trump's policies as president that has helped fuel the boycott, she says.
"I think it's a very easy, peaceful way to protest," says Coulter. "The name 'Trump' in general is pretty toxic right now."
She says the #GrabYour Wallet hashtag has been seen more than 800 million times in Twitter feeds, while the campaign's website got two million hits in the last month and sometimes gets upwards of 30,000 unique visits per hour.
"That's the scale," says Coulter.
The anti-boycott movement
But as the Trump boycott is gaining momentum, so too is opposition.
The Ivanka Trump HQ Facebook page is now flooded with comments from Trump supporters.
"Keep your chin up, Ivanka. Don't let the snowflakes get under your skin," commented one woman.
"We got your back at She BANGZZ which is a female firearms fashion boutique!!! Go Trump!!!" wrote another person, referring to the women's section of a Tennessee gun shop.
A small group of Trump supporters also staged their own protest by heading to a U.S. Nordstrom store to cancel their accounts.
And a call to boycott Trump wine has apparently led to a surge in sales. According to Fox News, Trump supporters in Virginia responded by swarming Wegmans grocery stores, buying so much of the product that some locations sold out.
With this weekend's protests at the Bay, St. Jean says she hopes not to incite a backlash, but instead raise attention for her side of the debate.
"I hope it's the right kind of attention," she says. "We want to start a conversation."