Keeping It Green

By Amy Stork

Sattie Clark is co-owner, with her husband Eric, of Eleek, a sustainable design and manufacturing company specializing in lighting and cast metal sinks. Eleek is located in North Portland.

Tell me about your company.

Everything we make is made with recycled and recyclable materials. Our facility is run completely on wind power. And we provide benefits, living wage jobs, and subsidies for alternative transportation. At the beginning, we knew [sustainability] was very much a part of our personal key values but we didn’t even have the vocabulary then. As we learned to define our business, we developed the vocabulary to articulate these values. This is a process, not a claim we can arrive at.

How did you get the values?

If I had a super hero alter ego it would be “That’s Not Right!” Woman. Pollution, global warming, social injustice – these stir up my indignation. Instead of letting it paralyze me, I wanted to do something. To me it doesn’t feel like a choice.

What’s it like working with your partner?

It’s amazing to share with your life partner what you do all day. It allows us to really know each other and each other’s experiences. But the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the partnership are played out at home and at work. We don’t get a break from the patterns and dynamics of home. When you see the same type of issues at home and at work, you have to realize—hey, that’s us. We are creating our own reality.

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