A 27-year-old man in Dorset, England, has already made £16,000 ($23,200) selling fresh air from various areas of the U.K. to customers in China. While he is based in Dorset he is now spending a lot of time in Hong Kong, actively selling his product.
According to Leo De Watts, Britain offers what he calls the “Louis Vuitton” of the finest fresh air and Chinese customers are more than ready to snap it up, at £80 ($87) a jar. He has so far sold 200 of his 580ml decanters of British air in just a few weeks.
While the Chinese are pushing their own products worldwide – taking over local markets in many countries – in the process, their industry is causing major cities like Beijing and Shanghai to suffer from stifling pollution and smog in the air over their cities. It is people in those two cities who are the first to snap up De Watt’s offering of good, fresh air from Britain.
— Country & Town House (@CountryandTown) February 3, 2016
However, he doesn’t just go outside and hold open a jar. It seems his customers can choose from a range of different fresh air from different parts of the English countryside. De Watts sends his friends and relatives out into the countryside, as far from pollution as possible, to bottle the fresh air. This is apparently known as air farming.
The team carries bottles in adapted fishing nets, held above their heads as they walk through the fields harvesting the air. Reportedly the bottles are kept open for 10 minutes to ensure they capture the full fresh air aroma of the countryside and efforts are taken to ensure no grass or insects get into the final “organic” product.
According to Country & Town House, so far, De Watts has sold fresh air from Dorset, Somerset, Wales, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire to his Chinese clients.
According to him, each area of Britain has its own unique fresh air aroma. For example, he says Dorset air seems to pick up more ocean scents as the breeze flows up the coast and over the pastures, but air in the Yorkshire Dales tends to filter its way through much more flora, adding the subtle tones of the surrounding fields to the scent.
Of course, the purchased bottles of fresh air are a short-lived experience, as when his customers open the “heritage-style” glass jars the experience of inhaling fresh air lasts only a few seconds. However, according to De Watts, many Chinese people are buying them as novelty gifts that will never be opened.
“Our customers all have high disposal incomes and want to buy gifts for someone – or someone wants to use it.”
He does stress, however, that there is a serious side of the product, as Beijing, Zhuhai and Shanghai particularly are badly affected by pollution.
Initially, De Watts had heard of a Canadian company selling bottled Rocky Mountain air to China and at first he thought the idea was a “bit ridiculous,” but later he thought, why not?
“When someone bottled water everyone thought it was ridiculous, now you have Evian and Volvic – why not bottle air?”
Air farming in Britain then became an official thing. He does say their products are priced as a luxury item, so the bottles of fresh air are not for everyone.
“Think of us as being the equivalent of Louis Vuitton or Gucci, we are not likely to appeal to a mass market.”
He explained that for the moment, his business is a cottage industry with just a few people around the country collecting the fresh air. According to De Watts, it doesn’t take that many people to do the job, and you can collect quite a lot of air in one go. The plus side is, of course, that you don’t have to pay for it.
As reported by the Mirror, De Watts came up with a good idea when naming his company Aethaer, as this is reportedly the ancient Greek word for “pure fresh air.”
[Photo via Facebook]