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Election Reflection

We take the temperature of our peers on how Trump’s ideas on trade, taxes, immigration and infrastructure might affect our industry.

The contentious 2016 election is now over and Donald J. Trump is our president-elect. On election night the futures market took a plunge, but the Dow recovered to almost record highs in the following few days. The domestic and foreign policies of Mr. Trump have yet to be fleshed out, and this uncertainty has influenced a spectrum of opinion on how his administration will affect the children’s fashion industry. To get a snapshot, Earnshaw’s set out to take the temperature of our peers – interviewing boutiques, showroom reps and brands about how Trump’s ideas on trade, taxes, immigration and infrastructure would either energize or demoralize those on the front lines of our business.

“We will be carrying on business as usual. Our manufacturer in India emailed us late last night to ask if the election outcome would change the way we do business with them, to which we answered ‘absolutely not.’ There might be changes in customs tariff at some point in the future, but that would have to be evaluated as regulations change.”

—Aliya Tufail, co-founder of the Spunky Stork

I lost a couple orders from Mexican high-end boutiques. I presume some initial conversations with big retailers there might be stalled for a while due to uncertainty. I hope the rhetoric we’ve heard about creating jobs and bringing production back to the U.S. actually becomes something that supports us American-made brands and small businesses in general. I hope that government incentives and a general appreciation for American-made craftsmanship continue and become something sought-after and valued.”

Ana Bianchi, founder of PaperGirl

“Trump ran on a platform of renegotiating all trade agreements in terms of being more protective, so I think a major concern is whether goods are going to flow easily like they have in the past. If not, we will start experiencing inflationary results.” —Louise Connor, owner of The Showroom

“All morning I’ve been getting phone calls of reorders. It seems like it’s just business as usual. No matter what happens in the economy, retailers are going to continue to buy what sells.”

—Jeanette Trujillo, owner of the Glitter Box showroom

“The children’s business will figure out another way if there’s a blockade, whether it be finding more domestic brands or working with one expanded domestic brand—we always evolve. I remember 30 years ago when I would go shopping and if it didn’t say ‘Made in America’ it was a huge deal. I remember 20 years ago, everything had to be made from cotton. Now, modal and bamboo are taking over the market as a hot-ticket item. I think it’ll be a matter of educating the consumer properly about what options are available.”

—Allison Moroze, owner of Ali’s Market showroom

“Regarding Trump’s promise to bring business back to the U.S.—that we’ll be making our own clothes here—I don’t think he can do that. We [in Oakland] don’t have the infrastructure to begin to compete with what we can get done in China. It’s just a total fantasy. I think the whole issue about trade and all the talk about trade deals, I don’t think he’ll be able to implement too much change that would hurt the business.”

—Bernadette Reiss, founder and designer of Biscotti and Kate Mack

“Short-term, all the concerns about his winning being bad for retail have gone away. Retailers will be promoting holiday deals and consumers will take advantage of them. This will help shake the September and October lull. Brands will be back to chasing the trends and need to get in front of them rather than be behind them.”

—Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group

“Economically, I have no reason to believe small businesses will be protected and encouraged.  Trump has said he will lower taxes for the wealthy and corporate taxes.  Neither of those are me.”

—Carol Adams, owner of Torly Kid boutique 

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