Crain’s New York Business – 40 Under 40

Crains 2005New York’s Rising Stars 2005
By Elisabeth Butler

Jewelry designer gets chance to shine

As an only child growing up in Greenwich Village, Alex Woo never cared much about toys. Quite shy at the time, she spent hours drawing after school in her father’s jewelry workshop, preferring a ballpoint pen and paper to other girls’ Barbie dolls.

Those years at the drawing board paid off. Ms. Woo now spends her free time sketching jewelry designs to fill her cases at Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus and Fred Segal stores.

Ms. Woo’s pieces have been photographed on a slew of celebrities in fashion magazines, and Kelly Ripa regularly dons one of Ms. Woo’s diamond-encrusted number pendants during Live With Regis and Kelly.

“I get the biggest charge when I see people wearing my pieces,” Ms. Woo says. “I always want to introduce myself and say, ‘Hey, I made that.’ ”

The Cornell University graduate decided to create her own jewelry line after she won the prestigious Women’s Jewelry Association’s design award in 1998. She beat out veteran jewelry designers, and the recognition jump-started her career. Henri Bendel was the first to pick up Ms. Woo’s work.

“Her talent is just emerging. She’s so confident in herself now,” says Ariane Burckhard, an associate buyer at Henri Bendel. “She’s having a great season