The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 6 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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June Tomkyns with her three ‘angels’ — (L-R) Priscilla Corner, Sharon Rodrigues and Janis

More than three decades of making people pretty and two salons later (Ballygunge Circular Road and The Stadel, Salt Lake), June Tomkyns has taken her expertise to a new level — an organic salon. t2 caught up with the grand dame and her three daughters Priscilla Corner, Sharon Rodrigues and Janis at June Tomkyns Go Green Eco Friendly Salon, on the first floor of the Silver Arcade on the EM Bypass.

Since when have you been thinking of an organic salon?

June: I have always had this desire to make natural products. And I think my desire is being fulfilled now. I used to make my own creams, wax and masks.

Priscilla: This salon caters to those who like it organic and eco-friendly. Mom believes that’s where the future lies. She has seen children grow into teenagers, grow into brides, then into mothers…. That care element has always been there. So we thought of doing something that is as chemical-free as possible.

Janis: It is as close to our ethos as possible.

June, you must be very proud of your daughters...

Extremely so... I am so happy that all of them have done so well in the same line. Hopefully, Janis will be coming here often (from Dubai, where she is based), and my granddaughters will be coming back. Most probably my grandson (Sharon’s son Haydn) will also come into it... as a manager...

Sharon: Hopefully! He is only 16. He shows interest in the sense that if my mom’s just had a haircut, he will be the first one to notice.

June: For that matter, I would like all my grandchildren to be in the same (profession). Priscilla has two kids (Robin and Sarah) and Janis has two girls (Aphra and Lara)...

Sharon: Basically, my mom would love everyone to be with her!

What do you think are your daughters’ strengths?

June: Everyone loves Sharon’s facials and her make-up. A lot of clients say... “Oh my God! Sharon’s hands”. Even Janis has the same thing... Priscilla is the all-rounder, a speaker, a singer, writer...

Priscilla: Janis is very highly trained... hair and skin, make-up, body therapy. I feel I am bit of a visionary... Sharon is the backbone...

June: Solid as rock.

A glimpse of the 1,500sq ft Silver Arcade ladies-only salon (opposite Sigree on the first floor)

Any areas of improvement?

Priscilla: Oh! Mummy will always find something we can work on.

June: Oh God! I think they are doing their very best.

How much of an influence was June Tomkyns for you all to take up beauty as a profession?

Priscilla: I think mom lived and breathed this. It was a passion so infectious. I would be writing all her recipes, Sharon would be doing facials... Janis would be educating herself... just the whole excitement....

June: They started helping me with my bridal make-up while in school.

Sharon: I used to make her bindis. We used to cut out bindis from velvet.

Priscilla: At this point, we can all categorically say that we are doing what we love.

Sharon: I had trained to be a Montessori teacher. And my sister after me (Kathryne) was more into beauty. When she got married, she literally said, “Take over Sharon!” (Laughs)

Janis: I think what we have inherited from mummy is to keep trying and keep getting better. It’s been an organic process, actually!

June, how often do you go to the salon these days?

June: Everyday... hands-on from morning till evening. I love working along with my kids. I love to cut hair and do facials. I don’t want to give up.

Janis: We cannot give (you) up. We are frightened.... Mom is out there. She teaches us all the time.

Sharon: She doesn’t want to take a day off.

Janis: So, we have a very high standard to live up to. Can be exhausting!

Natural waxes, essential-oil-based therapies, concentrated oil massages and chemical-free nail polishes will be on offer

Styling the Sens... Suchitra Sen, Moon Moon Sen, Raima and Riya Sen

June: Suchitra Sen used to come when I first opened my salon. She is the most dignified person I have ever met or seen. She liked everything private. She always wanted to be well-groomed from head to toe.

Priscilla: We have a lovely picture of her in the salon that was given to us by Moon Moon (Sen). We have styled all the (Sen) generations and mummy gets very happy to do that. Moon Moon is very bohemian. She is a complete child-woman. Lovely person. Warm... she is totally charming... she will disarm you with her simplicity and stun you with her brilliance.

June: Even her daughters are like her...

Priscilla: Raima is very down to earth and effortlessly elegant. Riya is fun to talk to.

Saionee Chakraborty

Pictures: Rashbehari Das