Flynn launches Tulsa-based Native American furniture design firm: Amatoya
Tulsa architect and entrepreneur Cray Bauxmont-Flynn has launched Amatoya, a Tulsa-based Native American furniture design and manufacturing company.
"Amatoya will promote Native American culture and artistry, incorporating it into a furniture line produced in eastern Oklahoma," said Flynn. He is best known as the principal and chief operating officer of EFG Design and Architecture, with offices in Tulsa, Dallas, and Las Vegas.
Amatoya – a Cherokee word meaning "rainmaker" – opened with a three-person design staff producing a broad product line of household and hospitality furniture. Flynn said his firm is outsourcing its initial manufacturing needs to eastern Oklahoma craftsmen. These artisans are hand-crafting sofas, chairs, cabinets, desks, and other case goods for six designer showrooms under development in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Chicago.
"Eventually, we would like to have our pieces in showrooms nationally," he said. "We are working with various showrooms and design centers to display our pieces. It just takes time to set up."
Flynn expects his initial showrooms to debut in the fall, each with 15 different Amatoya pieces. From these launch furniture pieces, customers may order individually made products from a selection of materials and fabrics.
"We could have up to 70 pieces eventually," he said.
"It's not mass-produced," said Flynn. "It's bespoke custom pieces that are made one at a time. Our design studio is creating and designing the pieces, and then we're reaching out to our local manufacturers to produce them. Each piece will be slightly customizable to the clients' needs or use, like the size of a chest or a sofa. We also will have our own fabric line that they can choose from to complement each upholstery piece."
Flynn – whose heritage draws from the Cherokee, Delaware, and Mohawk nations – first dabbled with furniture design a decade ago, crafting custom pieces for various clients globally.
"I had taken some things I used to see – Cherokee artistry elements, imagery, symbols, graphics – and people seemed to like it," he said. "I knew the process behind furniture design and manufacturing, and I often thought about doing something like this. It's just taken some time to get it up and moving."
Flynn said each Amatoya product will draw from Native American artistry and its cultural essence.
"There's a story behind each piece that we're producing and designing," said Flynn. "It's not just a chair. There's an intrinsic nature of our people behind why we designed it the way we did."
Such stories draw from childhood tales his great-grandmother shared of their family tree. Flynn chose the company's name from an iconic Cherokee leader whom he was told was an ancestor, Cherokee Chief Amatoya Moytoy.
"I have a real interest in it," Flynn said of his Native American legacy. "We're extracting the cultural heritage and aspects of our people and kind of reinventing these elements, incorporating them into this type of design."
Amatoya (Amatoya.com) marks just one of Flynn's business interests. Besides it and EFG, Flynn is a partner in the Nevada real estate development firm Ascot Group LLC.
"I have a few other startups in mind," said Flynn. "We will talk more about those later this year."
With these businesses, Flynn hopes to generate jobs and education opportunities in Native American communities.
"I would like to incorporate more Native Americans into the process and have them create elements for the line," he said. "I also want to be a resource to provide educational learning for Native Americans – especially the Cherokee Nation and other eastern Oklahoma tribes. Amatoya is all about providing educational resources for people to engage in the process of creating and manufacturing hand-crafted furniture."
To learn more about Amatoya, contact Flynn by either of two ways: email, email@example.com, or phone, 918-812-8860.