Nik-kia Thomas of Land O’ Lakes always knew she wanted to have her own “something.”
But it was a question of “What do I want to be when I grow up?” the mother of two homeschooled girls said.
She was busy at home with the kids and husband, but “I needed something of my own and a way to give back to the community,” she said.
So she turned to her 9-year-ol daughter Janaya and asked for her advice.
We like to paint, Janaya told her. And the idea for Pretty in Paint was born.
Thomas loved going to a paint-your-own pottery studio in New Tampa, but there was nothing like it in Land O’ Lakes.
She fell in love with the location in the Shoppes at Sunlake Centre immediately. It’s within walking distance of the family’s home in Ballantrae, and the area is full of families and growing, she said.
“This is mine,” she recalled saying.
Now the whimsical studio is teeming with kids and grownups alike, who come to let their creative juices flow while spending time together.
“We can’t afford to take big vacations, but we can do little things together like this,” Thomas said. “It’s an opportunity to sit down and chat and do something fun together.”
Customer feedback so far has shown that’s what they appreciate most, too. One mother sent her a message recently, thanking her for creating a place that she could spend quality time with her daughter.
“It was great to hear," Thomas said.
Thomas did most of the build out and decorating herself, from the concrete on the floors to the brightly painted walls. She also stripped the “up-cycled” secondhand tables and chairs herself—a purchase she made before she even signed the lease at her location, she said.
The result: a charming, cozy and comfortable place to hang out with friends and family, enjoying a cup of coffee and a light snack while you create your own masterpiece.
You also can bring in your own wine, Thomas said.
The projects are left at the studio for about a week, so that Thomas can fire and glaze them. Customers return to find their piece displayed on a pickup shelf, which she said is based on the honor system.
The studio has been open for about a month now, and business is good. She’s filled both kilns to capacity every night, she said.
She has run a few summer camps, hosted a few parties, and is brimming with ideas for more fun ways to use the space, including a story art program that begins in September.
"There's so many possibilities, I have so many ideas I just want to run with with, but it's baby steps now," she said.
“It’s been a dream and I have faith it will succeed."
Pretty in Paint is located at 18841 State Road 54, in the Sunlake Shopping Plaza. Closed Mondays; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday- Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Last painter is accepted one hour before closing.
For pricing, party information and more details, visit the Pretty in Paint website.