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Problem solving

Ok, so if you read the last blog, you learned about how we found a patent lawyer in Boston and my husband got back to tinkering.  And tinkering he did while running into design challenges as he went. 

Broken glass

Do you know what happens when you put a flame up against a glass cup or vase for over an hour?  It breaks, sometimes in quite dramatic fashion.  One time he was tinkering while I was in bed sleeping and there was this loud cracking noise from the spare bedroom that woke me up.  It wasn’t the first time this had happened, but this particular piece, it was big and it broke into many pieces, very loudly.  This was Victor’s first big challenge… if this was going to work, he needed a glass that didn’t break.  The good thing is, he knew why it was breaking… so what to do?


He needed a glass cover that could heat up at the top, without breaking.  That led him to try a dome-shaped glass.  And where would you find such a thing, you might ask?  Well, you go to Michael’s craft store of course!  They don’t sell them today, but back in 2005, they sold dome glass covers people use to protect collectables.  Back to tinkering, and after hours of burning tea lights under the glass dome… no breaking!  Till this day, I haven’t woken from a sound sleep due to breaking glass.

Open windows

One thing you need to understand about my husband is that when he thinks something up, he wants to make it perfect.  In his mind, this was a candle safety product, NOT a candle diffuser.  So, he tried to think of every situation where the candle wouldn’t extinguish.  For example, if the batteries failed, or the circuit board failed, the fan would stop and kill the flame.  Another scenario he thought of was if the diffuser was in front of an open window.  He feared that a breeze from the window would sustain the flame even if the fan stopped. 

Does a candle flame lean?

Another issue he noticed in the early prototypes was that once the fan started and he covered the candle with the glass dome, the flame would lean continuously to one side.  This concerned him because he didn’t want the flame to melt the plastic tealight container.  This problem and the open window problem would get solved later on when he hired a design engineering firm. 

Business school help

Meanwhile, as he worked his way through business school, he would use his candle project as the basis for his group work.  In February 2005 he hired a design firm called Bleck Design Group to sketch up some concepts and design foam models for what this product might look like so he could use them in surveys.  He actually stood in the Illuminations store (a candle store that’s no longer around) and did face-to-face surveys with customers. 

In August of 2005, he had one class where they needed a mockup of the packaging, so he hired a firm called Rubber Steak.  It was a new company started by a couple of graduates from the Rhode Island School of Design.  They even created the first VelaRosa logo and business cards.


In the next blog we explain how we got our name, getting a patent, and hiring a new design firm to solve some of the design issues.  Until then, please sign up for our email list, and we’ll keep you updated on our Kickstarter launch of the VelaRosa candle fragrance diffuser!

You can sign up here:  VelaRosa email list

 Thanks again for your support!

Christine Avelar


The tinkering phase

In the last blog, I described the very first VelaRosa candle fragrance diffuser concept.  In this blog, I’ll give a bit more of the history.  

About a week or so after my husband, Victor, showed me his first concept, he showed me the next iteration of his idea. This time, it appeared to be plastic packaging from something else.  He threaded rubber bands through it, which held a fan.

On top of the fan he had placed a black CD holder, and a candle. Then he placed a huge glass vase upside down on top of the candle. He used the fan to demonstrate how he was able to keep the candle burning, despite the fact that it was completely covered by a glass vase.

I admitted that it was a neat trick, but didn’t really think anything of it. My husband is an engineer, and there are always interesting discoveries that seem to pop up in our daily lives. Again, I appreciated his enthusiastic tinkering, but his concept certainly didn’t look great, to say the least.  But, as a supporting partner in a relationship, I resisted getting in the way of his creativity.  Not to mention that, during this time, he was half way through his MBA program at Babson College, regarded for its entrepreneurial programs.  So here he is, developing this candle idea as a basis for his class projects, a full-time job, and studying with barely any sleep… no, I’m not getting in the way of that!  (Thinking back now, we didn’t have kids so this is another reason why it was easier to let this take its course.)

Search for a patent law firm

As he continued to tinker with this concept, he became more confident that this idea was unique enough to patent.  This set him off on a search to see if there were products and patents similar to his concept.  When he didn’t find anything… Well, that’s when things got serious… 

He focused on researching patent law firms, and after a few weeks, he came up with a short list of law firms to visit.  So guess what we did over a few vacation days?  We took a day trip to Boston and began the Victor and Christine patent law firm tour.  We hit a few places around Cambridge and Canton, but most of them were in Boston.  He and I took notes as we sat with these different lawyers.  After the last visit, we had lunch at a sea food place in Boston, and over a few Cosmopolitans, we decided there that we were most comfortable with Robert Hunt at Wolf Greenfield in downtown Boston. 

After choosing the law firm, Robert was quick to send Victor draft patent applications which prompted questions… and those questions were like a burst of energy to my husband… there he went… researching… prototyping… testing… he was like Flint Lockwood on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Mad science lab

As the weeks went on, our spare bedroom became more and more filled with various sized vases.  Here a just a few of the vases and glasses he had.


By the time December 2004 rolled around, he had taken to renting scientific meters to measure things.


By July 2005 he switched to tea lights to keep the diffuser small.  I did like the way the candle glowed through the frosted glass.


All of this tinkering sometimes lead to all sorts of mishaps, including the shattering of many different glasses and vases from the high heat exposure of the candle flames. Though it left a mess, these small “accidents” lead to another design challenge that Victor ended up solving…..


I continue this part of the story in the next blog.  Until then, please sign up for our email list we’re building for our Kickstarter campaign, where we’ll launch the VelaRosa candle fragrance diffuser!

You can sign up here:  VelaRosa email list

Thank you for your support!


How we got here

The problem

The story of VelaRosa comes from humble beginnings, and a need to make our house a home.  I’ve always loved burning candles.  It seems to make a home cozier.  Certain scents evoke certain feelings, and I’ve always varied my scent choices with the seasons.  Crisp apple scents for the fall, Pine and cranberry scents for Christmas… You get the picture. 

Over time, however, I began noticing that some of my favorite scents, purchased over and over again at the same popular candle stores, seemed to lack the strength, intensity, and ability to fill my home with fragrance.  I had to spend extra money to purchase 3-wick candles in my favorite scents to get the same level of scent diffusion that I was previously getting with a one-wick candle from the SAME stores in the past.

As the years went on, and we added our first child to our family, life became more and more hectic, to say the least.  One night, when we had left the house for a dinner out, it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember if I had blown out a candle that I had been burning in the kitchen.  And, to be honest, this wasn’t the first time that I had forgotten a candle burning after leaving the house.  Speaking with girlfriends, I found that I wasn’t the only one who did this.  One girlfriend, in fact, confessed that she had left a candle on top of her TV, and went to bed.  The following morning, she woke up to find that the candle glass actually melted into the top of her television.  So Scary! These stories set off a ‘fix it’ switch in my husband.  For the next 5 years (on and off), my husband “tinkered” with different ways to automatically blow out a candle. 

At this point, you're probably telling yourself, hold on... he's not fixing the weak candle fragrance problem... you're right, I'll eventually get to that part...

The first concept

My husband’s ‘tinkering’ started with playing around with some cardboard cut outs during a family vacation in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Then, it progressed to glassware and plastic packaging.  It evolved bit by bit until one weekend, while I was out with our daughter, he stumbled onto what he thought was an answer.
On Sunday, July 18, 2004, he showed me this:

He explained that if he were to blow air from the bottom of the white bowl with holes, the air would sustain the flame. If he stopped the air from blowing, he was able to extinguish the candle. I thought to myself, “well, that’s underwhelming”, and went about my day : )

In the next blog we continue with this history.  Until then, please sign up for our Kickstarter campaign email list, where we’ll launch the VelaRosa candle fragrance diffuser!

You can sign up here: VelaRosa email list

Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.