Woo: From the age of 6, I knew I wanted to be some type of artist. Instead of playing with toys, I would sit for hours drawing and sketching. But watching my father make jewelry at his bench was inspiring. I grew up with an appreciation for gems, precious metals and fine craftsmanship.
MLB.com: What is he doing now and what does he think of your jewelry?
Woo: He actually just ran the New York City Marathon last year, so he's in better shape than me! He loves the Little MLB collection, as he never thought that I would be able to find a way to incorporate sports with what I do. But I found a way.
MLB.com: You became known as a celebrity jewelry designer, worn by J-Lo among others. What was the impetus for breaking into the national pastime, where female fans have continually grown in number, and how has it gone?
Woo: I knew that I was designing a collection for an audience that may not be so familiar with my brand, but as a fine jewelry designer, I also wanted baseball fans to see fine jewelry in a different way. Just as moms like Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry wear my initials to keep their children close to their hearts, I knew there would be baseball fans that would feel the same way about their teams. So what better way to keep your favorite team and love for your hometown close to your heart?
MLB.com: The bridal shower season is an obviously important time for your designs. Why would your line of club-themed jewelry make a perfect gift for this time of year?
Woo: All of my Little Icons, including the MLB collection, are designed to tell a woman's story and be modern heirlooms that it can be passed down from one generation to the next. Made in New York, and designed in solid sterling silver, 14-karat yellow gold, or white gold with diamonds, women can wear these designs for many years to come. With this collection, women can show their love and support for a team and city in a chic, luxurious and fashionable way.
MLB.com: What makes an Alex Woo item so unique?
Woo: I've always had an appreciation for sculpture, because it's so tangible and three-dimensional. But I eventually came to the realization that with jewelry, I could create and design in the same way that I sculpted, but have a wider appeal and be able to reach a bigger audience. My designs are bold and personal, but also solid and substantial in weight. For example, if you look at my Yankees Little MLB pendant, it can sit on a table on its own like a miniature sculpture. Its chunky quality and the subtle shiny, beveled edge is what makes it special and different. Also, because the design is solid, the diamond-cut ball chain that it hangs on runs through the piece so that it "floats" on the chain.
MLB.com: It says "Proudly Made in New York" on each of your merchandise pages at the MLB.com Shop. As a New Yorker, where do your baseball loyalties run? It's been a surprisingly good year for both teams.
Woo: Whether the team is doing well or not, I am always going to be a Yankees fan. I am a born-and-bred New Yorker and being able to wear the Yankees icon around my neck to symbolize my love for this city means a lot to me.
MLB.com: Last fall, I wrote about Amber Sabathia wearing the NYY necklace as she and other baseball wives modeled your items. Tell us about the "new stuff."
Woo: Yes, I am always very excited to see baseball wives like Amber Sabathia, Amy Hafner or Erin Robertson wearing and buying my designs. Since then, the MLB.com Shop has also added my mini additions to the Little MLB collection. So, for example, my L.A. Dodgers pendant can now also be bought with a mini baseball, clover or heart paired together with it.
MLB.com: What kind of kick do you get seeing women wearing your jewelry in or out of the ballparks?
Woo: This is the only officially licensed sports collection that I have ever designed, and I'm just excited to have been able to design a collection that brings together the worlds of fine jewelry, sports and women. Also, being a made-in-America brand, I thought, what can be more American than baseball? What's also been exciting is that we've gotten an amazing response from celebs like Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch, MLB Network's Heidi Watney and Miss USA Mallory Hagan. They have also all been seen wearing my Little MLB necklaces, but my favorite is actress Jamie Chung. She wore my Giants necklace throughout the World Series as her good luck charm ... and look where that got the Giants.