Dr. Scott Hofert is the founder and head leathersmith of ColsenKeane Leather based in Charlotte, NC and co-founder and co-pastor of the non-denominational church, Watershed, in Plaza Midwood in Charlotte. A self-confessed leather goods junkie, father of two sons, husband, former world traveler turned homebody, aspiring but still novice yogi and semi-reluctant vintage Airstream restorer, Scott spent his twenties working in humanitarian aid in over forty countries, his thirties starting a family and a spiritual community in an urban setting and began his American made leather goods company at age forty. Obsessed with entrepreneurship, transformation, creating and implementing new initiatives, cultivating spirituality in community, empowering the marginalized and co-leadership, his greatest joys are found in building the kind of family, community and goods that are made to last the long haul.
Learn more about Scott’s Talk…
Title: The Boredom and Creativity Kinship
Description: New ideas and creative thought are what make our hearts skip a beat and I believe that in our culture of busyness as identity that learning the art of embracing boredom will allow our minds to harness the “what if” questions that in the end push us on our pursuit to that ever elusive something more meaningful. At around the age of 40 it hit me that although I loved my vocation and the non-profit sector I was averting the restlessness and looming boredom I was sensing within by doing and being more rather than raising my antennae enough to just allow boredom to do what it’s supposed to do when you’re in it. Research has shown that boredom fulfills a very important function: it makes people desire to engage in something they find more meaningful than what they are currently experiencing and my own boredom precipitated the creation of my business, my handcraft and the start of something I truly love.
What would the news headline about your talk? Boredom over busyness triggers the “what if” thoughts that lead to our best ideas, endeavors and quests.
What do you want people to learn from your talk? 1) There are concepts and visions and inventions and solutions and all kinds of crazy creativity that could be unleashed within each of us if we took the advice of my elementary Montessori teacher to parents at my sons’ school at the beginning of each summer: LET THEM BE BORED.
Let yourself. Give yourself permission to have a block of uninterrupted time with literally nothing planned and nothing distracting. Nothing necessarily amusing. What if we allowed ourselves to embrace the nothingness we rarely allow ourselves to experience and rather than facing it with a sense of malaise instead, let ideation and creation be birthed in those seasons? 2) Be Bored. Who are you in that beginning of summer break as an elementary school age kid just let loose in the neighborhood without a plan or agenda, so to speak? How will you play and experiment and wonder? Do you even wonder? Do we allow our minds to harness the “what if” questions that boredom can trigger? Feeling bored in your current state of work/life? Dial into that and start to ask the hard questions? Maybe more time spent in a hammock (in which, by the way, you can only look up- ever tried laying face down in one?) will catalyze motion and insight than sitting at your desk or researching your next steps. Being smack dab in the middle of the boredom can birth creativity that can be life-changing.
What action items do you want people to take away from your talk? 1) Don’t run from boredom: welcome it. Be intentional about it. 2) Embrace restlessness as the impetus to creativity. 3) Unleash the what ifs within by hanging a hammock, so to speak and being present.
Learn more about Scott…
Where is your hometown? Buffalo, NY
What are your hobbies? 1) I love to read. 2) I am crazy for creating leather items by hand, of course. 3) I am a yoga junkie. 4) My newest hobby is to jump into our vintage 1968 airstream trailer and go explore the mountains of Tennessee or the beaches of North Carolina with my two sons and wife of 16 years.
What are you passionate about? I’m most passionate about my family. My favorite place is on our front porch with them. I’m passionate about personal development. I live with the assumption that who I am today is not the person I will be in the next three years. The transformation and change are for all of us. I’m on an ongoing hunt for resources and experiences that will enable me to grow. I am convinced that empowering the marginalized is all of our callings and that real change only comes about when we give ourselves to it. I personally am involved in mentoring locally with and helped found Catapult where we some of the most struggling, challenged and homeless students in our city. I’m also on the board of Equitas (local foundation for education in Malawi) education students in rural villages and I am on a pursuit to be intentional in my generosity and compassion. I love to create. I love to create new systems, new organizations, new products, etc. The impetus and strategy around making something fresh and new is what most excites me.
What is the best compliment you’ve received? The day you became my mentor my whole life changed for the better. Probably ties with “Dad, you’re probably the best wrestler in the world.
What do you want to be remembered for? More than anything, one who is open to constantly learning and growing, never stagnant and doing so with a deep-seated sense of humility while bringing others along with me in the process. I want to be remembered as a father and husband that gave his best and will always circle the wagons around family no matter what.
How do you push the boundaries? In my leather business (ColsenKeane Leather), we have a slow fashion model, a model that says speed and fast productivity might not always win the day. In other words, our products are made by hand it might take many hours to make. It’s exactly that kind of attention to detail and pace that compels people to purchase our goods. Traditional manufacturing would tell me we need to speed up the process but in doing so I’m afraid we lose the excessive attention to detail. In my church (Watershed), as a founding co-pastor, I like to push the boundaries theologically. Most of the ways in which we change people’s thinking at Watershed has been due to first establishing quality relationships. But once the relationship is established we begin to engage what it looks like to see faith and God through a very different lens. We ingest huge amounts of culture, psychology, philosophy along with some of the tradition that has driven the church for 2000 years. The cocktail of both those create a very eclectic community.
What does your happy place look like? Like many of us, we are very busy and demanding weeks. My favorite places are typically an early morning coffee with my wife on our front porch- I’m a total homebody or dinner at home with my two boys and wife. Our home is my enclave and there’s something about the excessive familiarity of that space that fuels me to go back out into the workspace the other days of the week.
What is one thing that you would like to share that isn’t commonly known about you? I have also way wanted to live in a UPS truck.
Thoughts on Charlotte…
What part of town do you live in? Elizabeth
What draws you to Charlotte? I am in love with the energy that this city emits. The growth, the diversity and welcoming nature of the Queen City as well as its proximity to so much nature that we enjoy (mountains and beach) gives me the sense that it’s perfectly nestled in the right spot on the map for my growing family and American hand crafted small business. Despite this being a banking town Charlotte seems to be this amazing petri dish for people who long to be creative, entrepreneurial and difference making that not only excites me but has surrounded me with new friends and great camaraderie in the process of my own endeavors.
Where do you see Charlotte in 5 years? I think even the bankers who live in Excel spreadsheets on a daily basis here are bursting with untapped creativity and sense of adventure but I think we have a lot of work to do in giving our people good outlets. I think if our city can set the stage for expression and value originality and identity over sterilization and façade, we could see immense ripple effects not just for our own citizens but even much more far reaching. I’m absolutely convinced the future ethos of Charlotte will be its creative bent. I think the resources invested to make our city more connected and greener are headed in the right direction even if there are many details to still be worked out and I believe that our city embracing areas like the burgeoning North End or the ever growing NoDa and Plaza Midwood solidify Charlotte’s longing for the arts and something different and less of the same. More poets and musicians and artisans will put us on the map far more than suburban sprawl.
Our most important question…
What animal will most likely be our future overlords? I guess Boykin Spaniels because mine definitely runs our home.