This Bluffton woman sells home essentials utilized by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Written by Barry Kaufman As seen in Local Life Magazine. Photograhy by Lisa Staff Photography
I had the fabulous opportunity to create content for this gifted creative business owner. Cassandra Schultz is the co-owner of Cassandra’s Kitchen, a kitchen supply store in Bluffton, SC. Among foodies, Ina Garten is something of royalty. Popularly known as The Barefoot Contessa, she rocketed to fame after the publication of her cookbook following years of success as a private caterer and retail operator in East Hampton, Long Island.
And Cassandra Schultz was there from the beginning.
“When I worked at the store, Ina was known just for being a caterer and business owner in the area. The store had celebrity status. She had many patrons who adored Barefoot Contessa, including many celebrities — Steven Spielberg, Lauren Bacall, Chevy Chase.”
But when Ina Garten published her first book, it was off to the races. Garten hired Schultz’s mother, Barbara Libath, part-time to grocery shop, which grew into a full-time job as a recipe tester and personal assistant. After her first book, “Ina really became somebody.”
And with that fame came national interest in the many dishes, cooking utensils and kitchen tools that Garten used on her show. Schultz saw a business opportunity. She founded Cassandra’s Kitchen as an online emporium for all things Ina Garten, sourcing out any equipment that she could find that the Barefoot Contessa used on her show. She also offers many simple and classic products for everyday use — not necessarily used by Garten.
“Ina was very supportive from the beginning,” said Schultz. “We’re not directly affiliated with her, but since Ina doesn’t have her own line, we designed a website and just went with it… when Ina does something, she focuses on that and does it really well. There are so many great companies putting out these products, so rather than have her own, she acknowledges that this is good, this is what she uses.”
Schultz started out small, running her business out of her house for 10 years. As the business grew, linen closets began overflowing with products ready to ship. A dedicated room within her house was quickly outgrown as well. “My husband is a golf pro, so we moved a lot. And every time we’d move, I’d have to put everything into my car.”
The in-home stockroom eventually became a garage filled with boxes and products ready to ship around the world. When Schultz realized she no longer had a place for her children’s bikes, she decided it was time to move into a full warehouse. For Cassandra’s Kitchen, it was a coming-of-age moment and a chance for Schultz to separate work life and home life.
“I’d be taking deliveries at 7:30 a.m. as I was in my PJs making my kids breakfast,” she said.
Her latest move saw her coming from Philadelphia down to Bluffton as her husband, Eric Schultz, became the director of golf at Colleton River in January of 2020. With that came a new opportunity for Cassandra’s Kitchen, something that had never surfaced before: a retail space. Schultz had originally been looking for warehouse space and found it in the light industrial park off of Red Cedar Street in a space which enjoyed a full storefront.
“I’m learning a lot,” said Schulz. “I’ve never worked retail, so it’s a learning process. I like to take baby steps.”
Tucked away in a destination that is quickly becoming a haven for foodies, Cassandra’s Kitchen shares a parking lot with Heritage Peanut Company, Lowcountry Kitchen, Lot 9 Brewing Company and Russo’s Seafood. It’s a natural fit for a place that beautifully showcases the gourmet kitchen supplies that helped turn Garten into a global sensation.
“All these years, everything’s been in boxes.” she said. “So when I got everything out for display, it was so beautiful to me. It really sells itself.”
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Written by Barry Kaufman As seen in Local Life Magazine. Photograhy by Lisa Staff Photography
Lisa Staff is a content creator and photographer that services Hilton Head, Savannah, Charleston and Charlotte areas.