Natural Luxury at LURKShop

Anne Nelson Sanford.
Anne Nelson Sanford.

By Emily J. Weitz

Natural luxury: that’s what LURKshop is all about. When founder Anne Nelson Sanford started working with perfumes, she wanted to maintain the integrity of her organic, naturally sourced products without compromising the idea that a perfume should be sophisticated. Ms. Nelson Sanford’s resulting perfumes are an example of how sophistication does not require a lot of intervention. Sometimes it’s the purest ingredients that make something decadent.

Ms. Nelson Sanford has always been interested in fragrances, and when she opened an apothecary in Florida, she started to learn about essential oils and botanical essences. But she found the market was limited in terms of high end natural fragrances.

“I started dabbling with my own scents and aromatherapy blends,” she said, “but I really wanted to be able to create something that smelled like true perfume, and less like aromatherapy.”

Usually when she creates a new scent, it starts with a spark of inspiration. It might be something she smells in the air, a visual in the world, or even a thought. Sometimes she writes it down, sometimes she just sits and starts to blend.

“This can take quite a bit of time, and blends need to cure for a few weeks,” explained Ms. Nelson Sanford, “so the editing process can be lengthy. But it always starts in my head.”

Even though she tries to avoid a “spa-like” feel in her perfumes, she does laud the aromatherapeutic benefits that are inherent in natural essences, like essential oils. Those benefits are part of what drew her to the industry in the first place.

“Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses as it is directly linked to our sense of well-being, our happiness, attraction to others and more,” said Ms. Nelson Sanford. “Our olfactive senses are connected to our brains in a way that is quite deep and profound. We link specific odors to memories and there are specific scents that can positively affect the brain to release “feel good” chemicals and actually uplift us.”

After deepening her understanding of natural essences at her apothecary, Ms. Nelson Sanford moved to New York and worked in the beauty industry. After a few years, she started playing with formulating her own scents, and thus, LURK was born.

“The quality of the oils, where they are sourced, the carrier oils, and the process are all core to the brand,” said Ms. Nelson Sanford. “When I set out to do this I really challenged myself to find the highest quality raw materials and I limited myself to only essentials – no analogues or compounds.”

This is what sets LURK apart from other luxury perfumes.

“Our creations contain none of the synthetics or chemicals associated with mainstream perfumery,” she said, “and we do not use oils that are diluted, engineered or fractionated. We are uncompromising in our methods and in our commitment to creating products that sustain the living and olfactive quality of our oils.”

Ms. Nelson Sanford likes to experiment. When a scent turns out differently than she expected, it could be a great thing or it could be a bust. But she refuses to compromise her own standards.

“In the case of something not turning out,” she said, “the next day I just wake up, show up and begin again.”

LURKshop opened in Sag Harbor last May, and Ms. Nelson Sanford chose this town for its character. She believes that Sag Harbor, like her fragrances, strikes a balance between the chic and the natural.

“We feel the Sag Harbor community is very green focused,” she said, “so I was excited about the prospect of retailing my fragrances here as well as curating an incredible line-up of brands that are a bit under the radar and not easily found in New York or the East End.”

Through her shop, Ms. Nelson Sanford hopes to turn people’s ideas of “green” upside down. The feeling in the shop is sleek and modern, but the products are eco-friendly from the ingredients to the packaging.

“My goal with the shop is to create an environment that is really about amazing, super efficacious products that are innovative, beautifully designed, and made to perfection here in the USA,” she said. “My philosophy for the shop is the same philosophy that drives my fragrances—I believe that all products should be effective, safe to use, give the best possible benefit and experience, and should never ask a customer to compromise.”

LURKshop is located at 28 W. Water Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 919-5000 or visit