Edmonton-based Vitality Air is making money in China and India selling canned air they’ve gathered in Banff, Alta. to people anxious for a whiff of the Canadian Rockies.
“We think it is [the next bottled water]. We’ve got a road map we think is viable,” Vitality Air co-founder Troy Paquette said in a recent phone interview.
Vitality Air sells two varieties of canned air.
The original Vitality Air, canned around Banff, sells for $32 US per can and its latest variety of Jiri Air retails for around $15 US per can.
Jiri Air is captured near Jiri Mountain, in the South Korean municipality of Hadong, South Gyeongsang.
Vitality Air has had success overseas, selling out whole shipments of canned air in China and other countries where the quality of local air is bad.
Vitality Air is the brainchild of real estate agent Paquette and mortgage broker Moses Lam, the CEO of the company.
In 2014, the duo posted two Ziplock bags of full of air for sale on eBay as a joke.
To their surprise, people actually bought those bags. One sold for 99 cents, the other for $168, and Vitality Air was, well, airborne.
Much like the two Ziplock bags, Paquette said that before Vitality Air the only similar products available were just novelties and toys.
But Vitality Air is serious about building a real business on people’s desire for a whiff of far-awy places. Paquette thinks Vitality Air might have started a brand-new industry.
“We’re the premiere company,” said Paquette.
Paquette also said that copycat companies have come along in recent years from a handful of countries in Europe, China and Australia.
“They’ve all gone belly-up,” he said.
“At the end of the day, you’re transporting compressed air.”
He said that a lot of the companies involved in the manufacturing of the equipment used to gather and can air are accustomed to “dealing with Johnson and Johnson instead of the little guy [Vitality Air].”
“That’s why others got into trouble, people don’t know that side of it,” Paquette said.
Today, Lam and Paquette get to travel around the world shopping their products to investors and collaborators and even getting invited to appear on TV shows and web series such Dragons Den and American rapper 2 Chainz’s Viceland series Most Expensivest Shit.
According to Lam, in an episode of Most Expensivest Shit, the air collection process takes around 40 hours for about 250 litres of air.
That process is, and will most likely remain, an “industry secret.”
We think it is [the next bottled water], we’ve got a road map we think is viable. – Troy Paquette
Each can provides approximately 160 breaths of air, or roughly three minutes of continuous inhalation, according to Vitality Air.
Vitality Air also sells a diamond filtered variety of canned air on its website. This diamond filtered can costs $10,000.
All of Vitality Air’s products are available on its website, vitalityair.com, and also at their retail storefront in Edmonton.