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Lemons to lemonade feature #18: Kristine Berger & Colette Melancon

Thursday, December 4, 2008
In 2008, Kristine Berger and partner Colette Melancon who are clinical social workers, founded Fundamentals, LLC. The company works with people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Prior to starting their company, they were working at the family's furniture store. However, after the birth of their daughter, and the affects of the economy and mother nature on people's psyche, they decided their destiny was not to sell furniture. Kristine and Colette went back into the health care field, which eventually led them to open their own company.

How Fundamentals came to be established is an interesting story. A story of promises that led to disappointment that resulted in a new direction for these busy mom entrepreneurs. Here is their story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
The economy, and the hurricanes that have hit the New Orleans area, has affected people mentally increasing post traumatic stress disorder. Because of this, we decided to go back into the field we were trained in, and contribute to a cause we really believe in.

We were approached by an acquaintance to leave our full-time, lucrative paying jobs in health care, and join her and her business partner in a venture to start an outpatient mental health center in the New Orleans area. The plan was that our daughter would be able to be with us at work, we would hire a nanny to be there, and the transition would be smooth.

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
Then Hurricane Gustav struck and the New Orleans area had to evacuate. Our project was put on hold. We found ourselves with a new baby who had two unemployed parents.

The lemonade is that we decided to open a private practice. Fundamentals, LLC provides outpatient counseling, specializing in families and children. We are able to work out of our home, allowing us to spend more time with our daughter. We also avoid commuting almost 100 miles per day.

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
To all mom entrepreneurs: YOU CAN DO THIS. You already have the skills. This is the scariest time in our lives, but also the most exciting time. We’re starting a new business, have been unemployed for four months now, have gone through almost all of our savings, and now we’re going to withdraw money from our 401k accounts to fund the new venture. That’s pretty scary stuff in this economy, AND I am extremely confident that Colette and I will be better parents as a result of this journey.

For more information, contact Kristine at or Colette at