How a Pratt grad used the pandemic to launch a woman-owned business
Before you move in, it’s good to have a little floorplay.
It was the big idea that Pratt Institute School of Architecture graduate Batya Cohen spawned as the pandemic raged in 2020, when she went from working for a few companies to taking on freelance assignments to help friends planning the layout of the houses they would suddenly spend a lot more time.
Cohen, now 27, found she had a knack for moving things around these abodes and, with her knowledge of design software, was able to put the ideas in her head on paper so that clients could have a clear vision of what their living spaces would look like – square foot by square foot – once everything is in place.
“I quickly discovered that I had a flair for making living spaces more livable,” she told TRD. “Understanding scale and space takes a part of a brain that not everyone can use, and I can show them and help make that a reality.”
With a multitude of clients to work with, Cohen, with the help of her husband Benji, tries to find a way to grow what was quickly becoming a business. Soon she was taking on clients beyond the friends who had given her the task of figuring out 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 have grown based on the needs of our customers,” she said.
This meant undertaking construction work of schematic design sets, architectural surveys, test fit plans, marketing plans, furniture layouts and any computer aided design related work for clients including real estate professionals, interior designers, retail, office tenants, landlords, contractors. , and even architects.
“We hardly said no to anyone,” she said.
In fact, the proudly female-owned company, which now has four full-time designers on staff as well as eight freelance designers, does just about everything in the business except design buildings.
“We are not licensed architects, but rather focus on giving certain clients the ideas they need to present to architects,” she said. “It saves time developing plans, which saves money in the long run.”
Incorporated in November 2020, Cohen has used word of mouth and social media to branch out, and says she now has nearly 100 clients, including major real estate companies like Douglas Elliman, Related, Newmark and KSR, for whom his company designs marketing. floor plans to showcase residential and commercial units, as well as food delivery company Jokr, for whom she created architectural studies for her retail location.
Reached by TRD, Newmark’s Managing Partner, 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 broker specializing in tenant representation in Brooklyn, I’ve visited countless spaces with clients who don’t offer accurate floor plans,” he said. “When first visiting a space, I always love connecting my tenants with Floorplay. Batya and his team have helped many of my clients create new floor plans and experience new layouts with floorplay solutions. cleaner and more efficient space.”
And Altmark Group’s Oren Altmark said he enlisted Floorplay to create layouts for a new 28-unit mixed-use project in the Bronx that helps potential tenants understand what their apartments would look like once the furniture is finished. brought.
“It goes a long way in marketing and leasing, especially when it comes to studio layouts where potential tenants sometimes don’t have a vision of how they would lay out the units,” he said. . “We think this has certainly helped in our rental efforts, and it sets us apart from our competitors on rental sites like StreetEasy.”
Cohen added that she is proud to have found her place in a field that has long been dominated by men.
“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 about 50-50, but a lot of these women don’t end up getting on the court. That’s why it’s exciting for me to have a majority female company.
She noted that her four full-time employees are all women and her freelancers are an equal mix of men and women.
And she couldn’t be happier to use her expertise to improve the lives of her clients.
“Design is not just a skill, it’s a talent,” she said. “And I love taking a client on this adventure.”
Floorplay, the New Age architectural firm, is online at floorplay.co and can be reached at (347) 395-2994. See her creations on Instagram at Instagram.com/Floorplay.