Sniffing out sales
A pet apparel business watches sales soar after securing a deal with Wal-Mart.
(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Entrepreneur Maria Peevey has gone to the dogs, thanks to Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500). After the retail giant increased its order of her pet apparel and accessories late last year, annual revenues for Peevey's San Francisco company, SimplyShe, jumped from $6 million in 2006 to $25 million in 2007.
Peevey, 40, has created children's and women's clothing for nearly a decade. When she had trouble finding a chic dog bowl for her golden retriever puppy, she launched a line of products targeting style-conscious pet owners. After researching Elle Decor and Vogue for fashion trends, Peevey sold her first collection of pet beds, leashes, and sweaters to Petco.
She then peddled her collars and toys to regional grocery stores. Hoping to capture more of the $40 billion a year that Americans spend on pet stuff, Peevey arranged meetings with mass retailers. Wal-Mart bit in 2006, and after the first few shipments of dog apparel sold out, the store asked her to supply enough gear for 16 feet of shelf space. Up next? Haute litter boxes, of course.