It sounds like the plot of a wacky TV sitcom: man dreams up a goofy novelty product, man sells said goofy novelty product, said goofy novelty product becomes a must-have, man becomes a real businessman and struggles to keep up with the demands of becoming a real business. Sounds far-fetched, but it actually happened to a number of companies who dreamed of selling air. That’s right—air.
Seems these enterprising folks have taken to bottling air and selling it to consumers in China. So, what once was thought of as a gag gift has actually taken off in the People’s Republic as the real deal, given that air quality is so poor. Perhaps this is the dawning of the age of the, ahem, air-treprenuer.
— CNN (@CNN) December 9, 2015
Case in point: Vitality Air began by selling bags of air from Canada on eBay as a gag. But founder Moses Lam, who was a mortgage broker at the time, couldn’t keep up with the demand from one sector of the globe—China, where some cities are consistently among those with the highest concentrations of air pollution. Since its humble start on eBay, Vitality Air has shifted production to compressed air in bottles and has sold 12,000 units in China, with prices ranging from $20 to $32 per bottle. It’s also developed a full-blown international website and a line of different air products, trafficking in compressed air of different quantities and delivery methods. That’s quite a leap from the ranks of joy buzzers, itching powder and other novelties.
And Vitality Air isn’t the only company profiting from capturing, um, nothing. A UK company called Aethaer sells jars of air and dispenses with any semblance of seriousness. It boasts that the air in each jar is collected from woodland areas in the UK, such as “fertile lush pastures and wild untouched meadows, to wind-kissed hilltops and heavenly snow-capped mountains,” according to its website. It even features a video of people “collecting” the air in nets as they flit about the countryside.
Still, business is booming for what amounts to a compressed air canister in Vitality Air’s case, and an empty glass jar, in Aethaer’s.
But there’s a way to experience improved air without all the gimmicks. AeraMax Professional’s complete line of commercial-grade air purifiers remove volatile organic compounds and up to 99.9 percent of contaminants like germs, viruses and allergens from indoor air—no jars, no flitting and no novelty.