Flint, MI—When Tamika Hicks started Paints, Chalices & Hues, she wasn’t aiming to become an entrepreneurial role model for her daughter or even get her own studio space. She just wanted a guided art experience to exist in Flint, Mich.

“I had no intention of going out and starting a painting business,” Hicks said. “I actually wanted to attend a paint and sip for my birthday quite a few years back, and there was nothing in our area.”

So Hicks did a bit of research, got business cards, and called on her family and a few artistic friends to help her get the art entertainment business off the ground.

Che’Anne Hicks (left) stands beside painting students with their finished products. (Courtesy Photo | Tamika Hicks)

“I went from there, and just kind of started it and thought it was just going to be a phase,” she said. “So I was like, ‘I’ll just ride this wave and see what happens,’ and here I am seven years later.”

Hicks now has a painting studio on the corner of Saginaw Street and Atherton Road in Flint. She hosts private parties and public events, offers paint-at-home kits, and has expanded from art entertainment into art expression experiences for Flint’s returning citizens.

“Art expression is where we work with different groups of people—sometimes individuals—where they’re dealing with anxiety, trauma, stress,” she said. “And we use art to kind of express ourselves when words don’t work.”

But as proud as Hicks is of her business, she said she’s just as proud of her daughter, Che’Anne Hicks, for building her own.

Tamika Hicks hugs her daughter Che’Anne. (Courtesy Photo | Tamkia Hicks)

“I’ve seen her use what she learned working with me to run her own business, and I do get a lot of feedback from people who have been to her,” Hicks said. “They talk about how she runs her business, the kind of person she is—so yeah, I’m very proud.”

Che’Anne was 16 years old when Hicks asked her to instruct at Paints, Chalices & Hues after her daughter’s art teacher said she had a natural talent.

Now the owner of Bare Babe Esthetics, Che’Anne recalled being very shy in the early days of helping her mom with painting classes.

“She would stand in the front of the room, kind of behind everybody, and I would literally just look at her. And it was like, okay, I’m fine, I can do it,” Che’Anne explained of how she taught art at first. “She was like my security blanket.”

Paintings hang on the wall of the Paints, Chalices & Hues studio on South Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on May 6, 2022. The studio, owned by Tamika Hicks, is a paint and sip studio, where people can participate in a painting class, and enjoy a glass of wine. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
A painting party at Paints, Chalices & Hues on South Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. (Courtesy Photo | Tamika Hicks)

Working for her mother helped her build confidence, said Che’Anne, and now she credits the elder Hicks for the success she’s found with Bare Babe.

“Customer service is her big thing,” said Che’Anne, a licensed esthetician who offers clients skin treatments, waxing, teeth whitening, and permanent make-up services. “That has helped me so, so much because the business that I’m in is extremely intimate, and that customer service is what everybody always says about me.”

Che’Anne said that because she and her mother work in what might be deemed “luxury” businesses, or those that aren’t part of customers’ every day or even every month’s spending priorities, success is not promised.

“If my mom didn’t show me it was possible in Flint, I don’t think I would’ve done this,” Che’Anne said. “I’m so grateful for her.”

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....

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