Leo De Watts, a young British entrepreneur, is minting money by selling 580 ml “naturally occurring, lovingly bottled” fresh British country air for £80 to pollution–hit Chinese cities. Customers have a choice of air from various parts of the UK including Yorkshire, Dorset and Somerset. The air is being marketed as a high-end product, like the “the Gucci of air”.
According to Leo, Aethaer isn’t just air, it’s a luxury good — a pure exclusive air from county sides of Britain. The former schoolboy shared his secret with Radio Sputnik:
“With other companies, artists and students, who bottled air before, there was never any evidence to show from where they actually bottled it from, so I thought the best thing to do is to show the whole process.”
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Melanie De Watts, Leo’s mother, is adamant that it is not a con and all the air is gathered fresh to order. She told Sky News:
“It’s got no pollutants in it at all. It’s fresh, it’s good for you and it’s freely available. It’s a genuine product. We’ve never shipped a jar that was just filled in the kitchen or the garage at home.”
Leo’s sister Francesca De Watts added:
“Some of the air may pick up different notes of grass, or near the sea it would pick up some saltiness in it as well.”
The Daily Mail reports:
His team put bottles in specially adapted fishing nets and hold them aloft as they run through fields to ‘harvest’ the product. They then leave it open for up to 10 minutes to capture the area’s aroma, but also ensure no grass or bugs get into the ‘organic’ product. Once unbottled, the ‘experience’ of inhaling the fresh-air for the consumer lasts just a few seconds.
Hoping to cash in on Chinese New Year festivities, the company is also promoting a 15-jar gift set for the “discounted” price of £888.
Now in China, the air is so poluted by industry that people can buy fresh air. Buying air is now real.
— Marc (@UnitedVortexes) February 14, 2016
Aethaer follows in the footsteps of another gimmick – the Canadian company Vitality Air, which recently started selling canisters of fresh air from the Rocky Mountains to Chinese buyers for $14 to $20, depending on the size of the canister. Vitality Air co-founder Moses Lam came up with the business idea last year after listing a bag of ziplocked air on eBay, which sold for 99 cents.
“We wanted to do something fun and disruptive so we decided to see if we could sell air. In North America, we take our fresh air for granted but in China the situation is very different. If China can import food, water, why shouldn’t they have the right to import air?“
— Vitality Air (@vitalityair) December 11, 2015
In December, Beijing issued its first ever red alert due to poor air quality, closing schools and restricting traffic.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) December 15, 2015
While there is no doubt that the environmental conditions in the country are alarming, but is importing air from the UK and Canada a solution?
Need to buy Air…What have we done to this world? Air from Great Britain sold in China for $115https://t.co/7ykKU98CFv
— Rajeev (@NambiarRajeev) February 11, 2016
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