Where are they Now? – Lyssa Surface
Story by Megan Whitehead | Aug 31, 2016
Lyssa Surface CEO, LillyBit
A unique new product solves a problem for moms on the go.
For many, family is a source of inspiration. This is certainly true for Lyssa Surface. After her first child, Lilly, was born, this Jefferson City native channeled her entrepreneurial drive and knowledge (she has an MBA, with an emphasis in marketing) into creating a product for trendy moms.
She became increasingly frustrated with bulky diaper bags when using public restrooms. “Being a young, busy, new mom myself, I needed something functional yet stylish,” Lyssa says.
Her problem created the idea for a new business. Named after her daughter, LillyBit makes clutch-sized, stylish diaper bags that are still functional.
Lyssa started tracking inventory of conventional diaper bags and found that most of the items that new moms were carrying around went unused. With LillyBit’s diaper clutch, she created a tri-fold design with specific slots for nearly anything a mom may need. “I asked my mom friends what they used most, and through market research and brand strategy involving focus groups, we discovered that the trifold design, structured after a cosmetic case, in a handbag, cross-body, wristlet bag was what moms were looking for,” Lyssa says. “We have a line of patented diaper clutches, two diaper bags, which come in a messenger backpack type and larger duffel type, pacifier pouches, and day packs, all designed for the modern, on-the-go mom.”
LillyBit is always updating too. “We’ve recently redesigned to include compartments for phones, lip gloss, keys, EpiPens, and sunscreen,” says Lyssa.
Lyssa knew that, to be successful, she would have to master the combination of style and function. After coming up with the idea, she sought help from designer Jessica Schifman. The collaboration resulted in a high-end, fashion-forward product.
A unique idea and an entrepreneurial spirit has been the key to Lyssa’s success. She started small, making and selling jewelry from a young age and consulting for small boutiques. Eventually, she found a need in the market that she knew she could fill. Lyssa is passionate about her product, knowing that quality and distinctiveness are important to her and her customers. “I was able to understand where there were gaps in the marketplace and find a solution to a common problem among moms -— too much stuff and not an efficient way to carry it all,” she says.
Lyssa has grown her business from selling in gift shows to having her products sold in over 1,500 stores nationwide and internationally. By partnering with manufacturer DEMDACO, LillyBit has continued to grow.
Visit lillybit.com to check out Lyssa’s products. LillyBit’s full line is also available at Carrie’s Hallmark in downtown Jefferson City.
Simonsen Ninth Grade Center
Jefferson City High School
Missouri State University
Parents, Larry and Daryl Dority
Husband, Bryan Surface
Children, Lilly and Ally