Martina Astrid Galanti of Elly’s Block: “Educate starting from children to respect the planet and animals”

Educate starting from children to respect the planet and animals, especially those in need of help. If you learn these things from a young age, it will be questioning to turn into a person that doesn’t care about these matters. Also, right now, in this period, it’s even more important to do so! Especially about […]

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Educate starting from children to respect the planet and animals, especially those in need of help. If you learn these things from a young age, it will be questioning to turn into a person that doesn’t care about these matters. Also, right now, in this period, it’s even more important to do so! Especially about the planet, because they will be the ones living here in the future.


As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Martina Astrid Galanti.

Martina Astrid Galanti is the creative director and founder of Elly’s Block. Martina attended a private Art School in Milano and then attended IED Fashion Milano, studying fashion product and merchandising management. Martina was raised in Milano, Italy, but always connected with Norway and the Norwegian culture as her mother is Norwegian. Martina speaks fluently Norwegian, Italian and English. She was able to unite her two passions: the care for animals and the love for fashion. During the first lockdown, she started to create dresses for her Chihuahua Donatella, and her brand ‘’Elly’s Block’’ was slowly born.

Martina’s mission with Elly’s Block is to raise awareness about the importance of reusing clothing instead of buying from fast fashion brands because it’s needed to take action on behalf of our planet and the environment. The second part of her mission is to contribute with donations supporting shelters, volunteers, and associations worldwide. Every piece of (dog) clothing they are creating is unique, upcycling old and new high fashion pieces to give them a second life. Martina also uses organic and vegan fabrics like cactus eco-leather to create harnesses, leashes, collars, and bags. She is running her business in Berlin, but her all-girls team spread between Berlin and Milano.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

First of all, thank you for having me!

I grew up in Milano, Italy but spent most of my summers in Norway as my mother is Norwegian and my father Italian. I grew up surrounded by fashion as both my parents work in the industry; I attended a private Art School and attended IED in Milano, where I studied fashion product and merchandising management. I then moved to Berlin almost three years ago, and this city changed my life. I found myself and my path, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

Our mission is to contribute with donations and monthly support to as many shelters and associations as possible. We are only using organic fabrics and mostly recycling luxury clothing to give them a second life. Also, all our packaging is sustainable, recycled, and recyclable.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Animals have always surrounded me, and I have always helped those who needed care. What is hurtful for me is to see all the bad things that happen in different places in the world to all kinds of animals, from circuses to dolphins in aquatic parks, to dogs in Yulin festival, and I could go on forever. These terrible situations have impacted my life a lot as I have always signed and shared petitions, but I wanted to do something more to contribute.

I realized that I needed to step up and do something more when I ‘’met’’ this amazing woman through social media; she is a volunteer in the south of Italy, and all by herself, with only the help of some small donations, she has saved and given to adoption around 300 dogs in 2 years. I admire her and want to contribute more than only donating a small amount now and then.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

The idea came during the first lockdown; I started to produce some lovely pieces for my chihuaha Donatella, to reuse some of the finest clothing that I was not using anymore. I realized this could have been a good idea for a business. The purpose that pushed me to do this was to be able to support volunteers. After I visited a shelter, I realized I had to do this so I could participate in helping all these people that volunteer to take care of these animals. Also, we are in a historical period where we need to step up and do something for our planet because the situation is critical.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

I have to be honest and say that it is a LOT that needs to be taken care of, and half of it I didn’t even know where to start! But step by step, by consulting different experts in all the other fields, I managed to put everything together. Also, having a team with people that knows what they are doing and believes in you and your project is very helpful if not part of the reason I am here.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

The best thing that happened while creating my business, was that I have put toghether an amazing team of girls.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

When we created the first models, my excellent designer and I, as she had never made anything for dogs, realized that the models had human shoulders, so there was something wrong with the fit: basically, dogs do not have shoulders like us. Yes, incredible but true! In the end, we managed to create the perfect designs and fits for doggos. Every model we produce is custom-made and made from scratch.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I had and still have one of the best mentors, Hanna Fitz. She taught me so much about building my business, but the most important thing she taught me is to trust the universe and not operate with stress or anxiety but always with love.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

We have been donating to one association (@sickrescue on Instagram). Luna Di Lucchio is a young girl from Milano who takes care of different cats and dogs who need a family. She collaborates with other volunteers located in the south of Italy, where stray cats and dogs are a big issue as they are so many. Luna is fostering many of the animals she manages to get adopted in the north of Italy.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Educate starting from children to respect the planet and animals, especially those in need of help. If you learn these things from a young age, it will be questioning to turn into a person that doesn’t care about these matters. Also, right now, in this period, it’s even more important to do so! Especially about the planet, because they will be the ones living here in the future.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. I wish someone told me not to buy too much packaging before being 100% sure about the brand name. At first the name was ‘’The Block’’, we decided then to change it to ‘’Elly’s Block’’, but I had already bought a lot of pieces for everything concerting packaging, labels etc.

2. To have a clear and immediate company profile and website before launching.

3. To understand all the bureaucratic part before launching.

4. To launch first properly and then organize events around it.

5. To hire people for every needed department so you don’t have to take care of every single aspect.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

We are the ones that need to take the initiative, also, obvious but true: we only have one planet, let’s save it, or at least try to do something about it!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Leonardo Di Caprio. I admire him a lot, and I think using his visibility to do something helpful and grat, like he has been doing since 2008, is impressive. He contributes to research and uses his wealth to make a difference in this fantastic but sadly also terrible world that we live in.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook: @ellysblock.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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