How a Pratt grad used the pandemic to launch a woman-owned business

Floorplay founder Batya Cohen with a rendering she created for a client. (floor game)

Before you move in, it’s nice to have a little Floorplay.

That was the big idea Batya Cohen, a graduate of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, spawned when the pandemic hit in 2020, when she went from working for a few companies to taking on freelance assignments helping friends plan home designs. the houses where they would suddenly spend time. much longer inside.

Cohen, now 27, realized he had a knack for making things flow in those abodes and, thanks to his knowledge of design software, he was able to put the ideas in his head on paper for clients to see. they could have a clear vision of what it was. the living spaces of it would look square foot by square foot once everything was in place.

“I quickly discovered that I had a talent for making living spaces more livable,” he told TRD. “Understanding scale and space requires a part of the brain that not everyone can use, and I can show you and help make it happen.”

With a host of clients to work with, Cohen, with the help of her husband Benji, tries to find a way to expand what was quickly becoming a company. Soon, she began to accept clients beyond the friends who entrusted her with the idea of ​​where to place the sofa in the living room, and Floorplay was born.

“We said yes to tasks no matter how small, and over time our services grew based on the needs of our clients,” he said.

That meant taking jobs creating schematic design sets, architectural studies, test fit plans, marketing plans, furniture design, and any work related to computer-aided design for clients that included real estate professionals, interior designers , retail businesses, office tenants, homeowners, contractors. and even architects.

“We practically didn’t say no to anybody,” he said.

In fact, the proudly woman-owned company, which now has four full-time designers on staff along with eight freelance designers, does just about everything in the field except design buildings.

“We are not licensed architects, but rather we focus on giving some clients the ideas that they need to bring to architects,” he said. “That saves the time it takes to make plans, which saves money in the long run.”

Incorporated in November 2020, Cohen has used word of mouth and social media to diversify, saying she now has nearly 100 clients, including real estate firms as large as Douglas Elliman, Related, Newmark and KSR, for whom her company designs marketing. . she floor plans to showcase residential and commercial units, in conjunction with food delivery company Jokr, for whom she created architectural studies for their retail location.

Contacted by TRD, Newmark associate director Alex Hedaya said he was pleased with the work Floorplay has done for him on numerous occasions, and has even recommended Cohen to some of his own clients.

“As a retail broker specializing in tenant representation in Brooklyn, I’ve walked through countless spaces with clients who don’t offer accurate floor plans,” he said. “On the first tour of a space, I always like to connect my tenants with Floorplay. Batya and his team have helped many of my clients create new floor plans and discover new layouts with cleaner, more efficient space solutions.”

And Oren Altmark of Altmark Group said he turned to Floorplay to create designs for a new 28-unit mixed-use project in the Bronx, which helps prospective tenants figure out what their apartments might look like once the furniture was brought in.

“It helps a lot in marketing and leasing, especially when it comes to studio layouts where potential tenants sometimes lack a vision of how they would lay out the units,” he said. “We think it definitely helped our leasing efforts and allows us to stand out from our competition on leasing websites like StreetEasy.”

Cohen added that she is proud to have found her place in a field that has long been male-dominated.

“If you took the program I took at Pratt 50 years ago, there would be very few women in the class,” she said. “Now, it’s around 50-50, but a lot of those women don’t end up going to the field. That’s why it’s exciting for me to have a majority women-based company.”

He noted that his four full-time employees are all women, and his freelancers are a 50-50 mix of men and women.

And he couldn’t be happier using his expertise to improve the lives of his clients.

“Design is not just a skill, it’s a talent,” he said. “And I enjoy taking a client on that adventure.”

Floorplay, the New Age architecture firm, is online at floorplay.co and can be reached at (347) 395-2994. See her designs on Instagram at Instagram.com/Floorplay.

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