Young entrepreneur is selling air from Dorset, Somerset, and Wales to China at £80 per bottle.
Wind, mist over the hills and vast green muddy meadow stretching to the end of eyesight. A few people are holding catchers and waving them like catching invisible butterflies. No, they are not catching butterflies but collecting fresh natural air to be bottled in this beautiful UK countryside. After a few weeks, the jars will land in the hands of someone far away in China.
“Since clean, fresh air is now rare in some of the world’s most polluted cities, how much would you pay in order to provide yourself, friends or loved ones with a breath of fresh air?” asks Leo De Watts, a Hong Kong-based businessman. He is the man who came up with this unique idea of selling fresh British air to pollution-plagued cities in China.
Leo who originally hails from Dorset in the South West England, launched his business a few weeks ago with his family and friends in the UK and sells the product online through his website Aethaer.
The company collects fresh air from Wales, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. These places are said to have air with unique aromas. Welsh air is branded as ‘a morning dew feel and enriched with vibrant and flavoursome undertones’. They sell a single 580ml jar full of air at £80.
Leo is targeting Chinese urban elite. “We have sold around 150 jars which we think was largely due to the run up to Chinese New Year,” he says.”We have found that the southern counties in the UK seem to be slightly preferred.”
When this business kicked off, a lot of people mocked and is still mocking at it. Is the idea of selling fresh air really as crazy as it sounds?
What do people in Cardiff think about this business venture? Watch the video below:
“On the first glance, that’s nuts and absolutely crazy,” says Dr Taman Powell of Cardiff Business School. “However, when you start thinking about it, it may not be that strange.”
“When water was first sold in bottle, people asked why are you selling it in bottles when there are taps everywhere? Then the advertisements started explaining tap water has metal and junks. People gradually started consuming fresh bottled water. It is the same argument with air,” he says.
Dr Powell thinks the price of ‘fresh air’ is too expensive and may not be popular among the masses.
Leo has a different marketing strategy. “We maintain the luxury price tag and use number eight because it’s auspicious in China. The zero resembling both the symbol O for oxygen, and also the shape of our jars. It becomes lucky jar or lucky oxygen.” he says.
The company also had a Chinese New Year special offer of 15 bottles for £888 a couple of days ago.
Aethaer has a future plan to go beyond the ‘luxury gift’ market to make the ‘imported fresh air’ available to a larger section of consumers.