Your Neighbor: Meet Kristal Trotter

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Kristal Trotter was raised in northern Italy as a child. Originally born in Germany on a military base, Trotter spent her childhood immersed in art and playing soccer. “My father, an American who was overseas while he was in the military, met and married my mom while in Italy,” Trotter said. “As a child, I never thought that I would ever live in the United States. It was always more of a vacation to visit my sister who was 17 years older than I was.”

Trotter immensely enjoyed a childhood immersed in art. “I attended elementary school and then an arts-based high school. Being in an art school, you have it all around you. When I turned 18 years old, I studied concept design,” Trotter said. “At that point, I stopped playing soccer because I realized I wasn’t going to play it as a profession. Up until that point I had been on the Italian national team.”

Trotter decided to put her focus on her career in art and did some freelance work while studying concept design. Trotter also met her future husband at that time, Alberto Larizza, through mutual friends. Both Trotter and her husband shared a passion for creating and appreciating art.

In 2011, the newlyweds decided to change gears and start a new adventure together. “For several years it had been difficult to find jobs. We wanted to continue doing graphic design and freelance work. My sister lived in Clemmons and we decided to just go for it and try finding work closer to her,” Trotter said.
Trotter was able to find a position at Renfro Brands as the head sock designer for Dr. Scholl’s. “It’s an adjustment living in the United States. I’m in a constant culture shock having lived in Italy for most of my life.”

Trotter decided to share what she loved about Italian culture with others. “I created a website ( that talks about Italian culture and diaspora in a diverse and inclusive way. I’m currently working on initiatives and events on a local level in 2023,” Trotter said. “My hope is that it sparks dialogue, conversation and understanding.”

Also fueled by her desire to create, Trotter started a creative studio that she co-founded with her husband. “We started Era Ora Studio which utilizes our expertise with branding, strategy and graphic design. In 2023, we plan to focus on textile design. We had lost our magic to do our thing with projects and design and wanted to get back to that. This freelance work has allowed us to do so,” Trotter said.

When not creating, Trotter enjoys branching out in the community. Trotter and her husband currently serve on the board of the Arts District of Winston-Salem. “I’m also the community manager for Unlock Her Potential. It’s the coolest mentorship program for women of color that is based in New York City,” Trotter said.

Taking in her new community, and still sharing her culture has been important to Trotter. “We haven’t been back to Italy in three years. Our family has been primarily visiting us. However, this year we hope to get back there and visit,” Trotter said.
Now the parents to two rescue dogs, Trotter is grateful she and her husband are able to hone their artistic and creative passions while sharing so much of their heritage too.