Satori: A Move To Bridgehampton, A Talk With Owner Lee Ann Bulgin

Lisa Frohlich and Lee Ann Bulgin. Photo by Steven Frohlich

Small business owners are the true backbone of the Hamptons community. While interviewing Hamptons local business owner Lee Ann Bulgin, she shared invaluable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Believe in your capabilities, be courageous, and stay committed.” Lee Ann’s journey is inspiring — she began working at Satori as a sophomore at Pierson High School, and many years later, she proudly owns the business. I enjoyed interviewing Lee Ann and learning all about the business she has built.

Satori. Photo by Katherine Budny

Are you originally from the Hamptons? 

Yes! My parents landed in Sag Harbor on a sailboat in 1984 after both visiting the area during their childhood. They didn’t have the full intention of staying, but once I became part of the picture, they decided Sag Harbor would be a good place to raise a family. Fast-forward 40 years, we’re very gratefully still all here.

Lee Ann Bulgin of Satori. Photo by Katherine Budny

How did Satori get started? How many years has it been open?

Satori first opened its doors on Main Street, Sag Harbor, in 1993 by a young woman from East Hampton. She owned and operated the business for 25 years! Satori was my first retail job when I was a sophomore at Pierson High School. I worked in the store for about five years while going to school, and then in 2017, it was a serendipitous encounter with the owner, Jesse Kenny, that would lead to a transfer of its ownership. I was honored to take over Satori. Not only did it hold a special place in my heart, but it had become such a staple in the community, with the most loyal customers supporting it all the way through. Sag Harbor Village was going through some changes at the time, and Jesse and I both felt Satori could live on with a new and fresh identity. It was an exciting transition.

Satori. Photo by Katherine Budny

You recently moved Satori to Bridgehampton. Are you enjoying your new space? 

The new store in Bridgehampton is going great! We received such a warm welcome from the surrounding stores and real estate offices, and the space is a lot more spacious than the Sag Harbor store. So much so that we collaborated with our dear friend of Too Shea Designs, who curated a fabulous home décor seating area, art wall, and vintage rack. It’s a fun new feature to add to the store that we plan to continually change and rotate.

Any cool fashion trends that you are seeing for summer?

I’m loving all the trousers and loose, baggy jeans right now. It’s such an effortlessly cool and comfortable look!

Zenzi Flower Drop Threader Earring, $68;

What are your best sellers at Satori?

The Michael Stars Demi dress is always a favorite. It’s a ribbed cotton tank dress with ruched side seams that is so flattering and looks great on everyone. It’s easy to dress up or wear with sneakers. And we have gorgeous flower drop statement earrings in a bunch of colors that have been a bestseller for a few years now.

Julie Vos Calypso Trio Ring Set, $135;

Are you planning any events this summer or fall?

We’re excited to host a special weekend with a new designer we’re featuring in the store, Seema Kaiha. She’s a lovely woman from India who designs gorgeous dresses in luxurious, sustainable fabrics with intricate details and finishings. Her passion and story behind each design are what make her collections so special. We’re excited to have her in the store to share that with our community. Our friend, Jasmine from Of a Floral Feeling, will also be around the store this summer, creating her beautiful floral arrangements.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their own business? 

The opportunity to own your own business is such a gift. Believe in your capabilities, be courageous, and committed.

Satori. Photo by Katherine Budny

What is your favorite part of being a small business owner?

I enjoy the responsibility. Having to show up every day for Satori, the team, and our customers brings me great fulfillment.

How do you give back to the East End community?

There are so many amazing organizations in the community that are always hosting beautiful events and fundraisers. It’s nice to be able to contribute to their auctions and fundraising efforts with items from our store. We love participating in the annual Hudson’s Helping Hands gala, the Girl’s Night Out benefit for Lucia’s Angels, and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers, and other local benefits for the schools, fire departments, and churches.

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