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Hit Missives

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Chocolate? Too fattening. New shoes? Too pricey. Sad songs? Way too depressing. For Maria Peevey, the usual heartbreak remedies didn’t do the trick. Fortunately, when the former public relations executive broke up with her boyfriend of six years in 1999, a friend had the answer: homemade greeting cards offering sisterly support and tweaking men’s foibles. The cards, says Peevey, “were just hysterical.”

Profitable too. Inspired by those clever missives, Peevey founded SimplyShe, a wry line of girls-only cards, books and T-shirts that is expected to rake in $1 million this year. (Sample message: “You’re not alone. I don’t like your boyfriend either.”) “I wanted to talk to women,” says Peevey, 34, “in the way we really say things to each other.”

Recruiting her card-sending pal Megan Weinerman, 32, as a partner, the San Rafael, Calif., native hit the market with SimplyShe in May 2000. Since then, she has put her products in 400 stores and won celeb fans like Drew Barrymore (who keeps Peevey’s cards in her office), Brooke Shields, who took one of Peevey’s T-shirts (“You’re getting married. You’re like a real grown-up now”) on a recent vacation, and Tracey Ullman (who calls SimplyShe products “quirky and humorous”). Next up: SimplyShe books and tarot cards. But prospective boyfriends, beware: Peevey, who is single and lives in San Francisco, is always on the lookout for new material. “Any date I go on,” she says, “is fodder for the business.”