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Pursuit Of Happiness: Why Edgewater Barber Left Job As Financial Analyst

Walter Iniguez at The Pewter Club at 804 River Road in Edgewater. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
The Pewter Club is a single-chair barbershop in Edgewater. Photo Credit: Contributed
Iniguez keeps handcrafted leather goods as samples in the shop and will order custom products for clients. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Iniguez works at The Pewter Club in Edgewater. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

There was never much excitement in numbers and reports for Edgewater's Walter Iniguez.

But cutting hair? Now you've piqued his interest.

Iniguez left his job last Friday as a financial analyst for PricewaterhouseCoopers after nearly five years. Instead, he's going back to his roots -- even if it means taking a massive pay cut.

"I need to focus on what's going to make me happy," said Iniguez, 34, who opened The Pewter Club in Edgewater , three years into his career at PWC.

"I was never tired or burnt out but my job just wasn't fulfilling."

Iniguez doesn't know if cutting hair is truly is his dream job, but it's far more enjoyable than what he's been doing.

He grew up in a salon where his mom worked as a stylist and was always fascinated by the craft of the single-chair barber there.

"I loved going to the barbershop and analyzing their day," the Union City native said. "I cut my friends' and family members' hair throughout high school and after graduation did an apprenticeship."

A jack of all trades, Iniguez put cutting hair on the back burner to earn his degrees in sports medicine and criminal justice.

In 2005, he graduated from college and began working as a personal trainer. Five years later, he started as a paralegal at PWC, working his way up the corporate ladder.

It wasn't until Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that Iniguez decided he was going to go back to his roots and invest in a salon.

For years, the only thing getting Iniguez through the day was knowing that when he left work in Manhattan, he'd have clients waiting for him at the barbershop on Hilliard Avenue in Edgewater, later moving to River Road.

"Just like personal training, what I love about being a barber is educating my clients," Iniguez said.

Now located on River Road, Iniguez talks to clients at the men's spa about proper grooming techniques and counseling them on which haircuts and styles would complement them best.

It wasn't long after he opened that clients -- mostly doctors lawyers -- began trusting him with fashion advice, leading him to open a consultation business under The Pewter Club's umbrella.

Along the wall are samples of handcrafted shoes, ties, socks and leather goods.

Clients will pitch Iniguez a budget and a look, and he will order them suits, leather bags, shoes and more, creating entire outfits or wardrobes.

"Even though everything is off the rack, it's my job to help clients figure out what styles they like and then go retrieve the item," said Iniguez. "They trust me enough to purchase it for them."

Some clients know exactly the look their going for. Others need some guidance.

Regardless, Iniguez says he's happy to help.

"I don't know if this is it for me, but if I do it for the rest of my life, then great," said Iniguez, never one to limit himself. "But I feel like you should do what you enjoy in life."

And for him, this is it.

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