Posted on December 6, 2013
Their story could read like a captivating screen play. He, Frederic, lived nearly 6,000 miles away in France. She, Karen, lived in North America having moved to Huntington Beach from Brooklyn when she was five. He went to a Catholic boarding school for eight years; she, raised as a Conservadox Jew, attended the Hebrew Academy for several years and spent six months on a religious kibbutz in Israel. Excelling academically, she began college (pre-med) after completing only two years of high school. He earned three Masters Degrees – one of which from University of Tokyo – in areas of International Business and Administration. Then one day they met…
A requirement of Frederic’s Masters Degrees was to complete various business internships. After one fell through at a dishwasher company owned by Karen’s parents, her dad suggested Frederic intern for the costume jewelry business she owned (and operated out of her parents’ garage). Frederic agreed, completed his internship there at Trinkets & Things (T&T…with its slogan ‘Dynamite jewelry at dynamite prices!”), and then returned to Paris to complete his studies and graduate. Karen was finding it increasingly difficult to juggle her pre-med studies with her growing successful jewelry business and soon realized she had to choose one or the other – she chose the jewelry business.
Once away from one another, it became clear to both there had been a spark between them. Frederic soon returned to California and they married despite the mounting disapproval by the local Jewish community. As the couple’s love evolved, so too did their jewelry business. At first they imported jewelry specializing in silver and a few years later decided to manufacture themselves. Frederic became a sterling silver designer. Their award-winning well known business, Frederic Duclos, has their breathtaking line in 2,000 jewelry stores, and it will soon be available in Canada and the Caribbean, as well. When asked if Karen ever regrets not going into medicine, she says no – that creating jew
elry also allows her to help people. “When they wear our jewelry, they smile. And, we also help many people make a living which is equally gratifying.”
The city of Westminster had once been home to their factory with 20 employees, yet in 1995 the Duclos moved all production to Europe and relocated their offices to Huntington Beach so they could start a family. Ten years after marrying, they ha
In their minimal free-time, Karen plays tennis and Frederic does Martial Arts (a black belt), sports fishing, and boating. Snow skiing is an activity the entire family enjoys together.d their first of two sons Benjamin and three years later Jeremy. Benjamin, 17, plans to be an astrophysicist and is now pursuing his college interests. His parents say he is focused, consistent, trustworthy, and gives his 150 percent. For example, Karen says, he chanted flawlessly Torah during two High Holy Days because he took the holiness of the assignment to master everything about it and did it with his entire heart and soul. They call Jeremy, 14, their Golden Boy. He is able to connect and relate to people in a very amazing manner. “He gets that from Karen,” says Frederic. They first noticed this at a jewelry tradeshow where he quickly bonded with customers and seemingly effortlessly got them interested in the product. He also is keenly aware of his surroundings and as such an asset to his high school’s Connection Club (founded by another youth congregant, Tara Abrams) that helps students with special needs.
Since raising the children Jewish was paramount for Frederic and Karen, they joined Temple Beth David in 2001 because of how comfortable it made them feel. The family appreciates how inviting and accessible Rabbi Myers is and that she never puts herself on a pedestal. The Duclos also love the Cantor’s angelic voice and how tolerant and welcoming the congregation and overall Reform movement are. As a result, the boys attended the religious school and were Bar Mitzvahed here, and the Duclos family continues to help support the Temple.
Just like a piece of jewelry can make an outfit, the Duclos family has helped make Temple Beth David the jewel that it is in so many families’ lives.