"Times are hard, people are frustrated. People are under stress," she said.
So she recently opened a store - or shack - in San Diego, where if you buy it, you can break it, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.
"Come here, spend a few bucks, smash my stuff," Lavely said.
Kelley and Steve Simon came to shatter some stress. They're worried about everything from their savings to their jobs.
"What frustration are you bringing to the smash shack today?" Tracy asked them.
"Work. Absolutely," they said.
So they and their friends let their frustrations … fly.
"You're not supposed to break stuff - and the fact that you freely can is a little shocking," Steve Simon said.
When the Smash Shack opened up a couple of months ago, it could have been a really bad time to start a new small business. But in fact the economy's troubles have turned it into a smashing success.
Lavely has seen her profits double since she opened the shack in August - an idea she first got during a bad divorce.
"I was at my mom's house and I really couldn't smash her stuff, but I needed more smashing," she said.
So now she loads up her store with restaurant rummage - and customers pay to take a crack at it.
She donates the leftovers for art projects.
These days, smashers often write out their concerns, such as "real estate values," and they can include everything from 401(k)s to gas prices to presidential candidates.
"I feel a little more energized and I don't have those frustrations kind of weighing down on me," said Kelley Simon after smashing a plate.
And now she has a little less on her plate.