The Pewter Club, located at 840 River Road in Edgewater, is not your average barber shop. Owned and operated by Walter Iniguez, The Pewter Club is the only single-chair 1920's style barber shop in Bergen County. As a testament to its old-school style, the shop is located inside The Sugar Factory, a historic building that was converted to apartments and commercial units from the old Jack Frost Sugar Factory. The shop's high vaulted ceilings with exposed brick give an old world barber shop vibe, complete with original antique barber chairs and one of only a few existing free-standing barber poles. The Pewter Club is like nothing you've seen before. After recently celebrating its five year anniversary, The Pewter Club expanded from haircuts and shaves to also offering custom suits and leather goods, which have been personally curated by Walter from around the world. Think of it now as a one-stop mens style concierge service. Walter's clients rave about the personal, one-on-one attention he gives each of them, and the unique leather bags, suit samples and shoes he carries.
How did you get into the industry?
My mother was in the hair and beauty industry, so I grew up in that world. Since then, for me I’ve always had a curiosity for all things handmade and design, which is why I was drawn to the high end suits and handmade leather goods.
Are there any emerging industry trends?
Men’s skin care has grown in a rapid pace due to men being more educated about proper shaving and skin care techniques.
Are there any industry opportunities or challenges?
There are plenty of good opportunities in the hair and skincare industry, as a business owners expansion plans can easily merge with any other industry, from clothing to cigars and beyond, for growth. Unfortunately, some barbers, stylist and shop owners become so tunnel vision with the art of their specific craft that they don’t see all the opportunities this industry can offer.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the business?
The inspiration for my business comes from the lack of this high-end, grooming niche in our area. I took a good look at the industry, and as a client and thought about what I would want to see in it and made it happen. After more than five years I have been fortunate enough to build a community of clients who share the same interest in quality hair cuts, skin care, clothing and leather goods. My vision now is to continue to grow this community, and ultimately my business, by educating and exposing my clients to all artisanal goods.
What's next for the business in the near future?
We’re going to continue to expand our product line, to offer high end, all natural perfumes and colognes.
Your key initiatives for the success of the business?
Building a community – letting the relationship go beyond just clients and customers.
Your most difficult moment at the business? (and what did you learn?)
Building a following wasn’t fast or easy. We opened the weekend of Superstorm Sandy, and we worked with what we had, remained persistent, and that drive and passion for this industry stays with me to this day.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Most of my clients are regulars so more often than not we’re catching up with what’s going on in their personal lives. I love when my clients come to me with fresh ideas for a new look, and they love when I give my honest feedback. In terms of new clients, I love when they’re “wow’ed” by my antique barber chairs, and intimate environment, before we even begin their haircut.
How do you motivate others?
I’ve worked in different fields, companies and firms so talking about my personal life experiences and the struggles that I’ve overcome to get to where I am today helps me motivate others.
Career advice to those in your industry?
My advice would be to make a clear plan and execute, but be willing to make the necessary changes that no longer serve you.