Could one of Canada’s most underrated commodities be its air? Two guys from Alberta are out to prove it is, and they have annual earnings of $230,000 to support their theory.
Moses Lam and Troy Paquette are co-partners of Vitality Air, a company that sells cans of Canadian air taken from Banff. Each can sells for $20, and they were able to sell as many as 40,000 units around the world last year.
The business started out as a joke between the two: "We looked at a bottle of water, and we said, 'Hey, we want to try something fun. We want to do something fun and new — let's try bottled air instead of bottled water,” Lam said to Yahoo Finance.
It’s the same basic principle behind Fiji and its bottled water, and it worked for Lam and Paquette’s idea — people all over the world, including China, India, Mexico and even the U.S. are actually buying their cans. Even celebrities like 2 Chainz are hopping on the trend.
“Each can contains 160 one-second ‘shots’ of air which you inhale through a small device. The air smells fresh and a little sweet, kind of like Christmas in a can,” writes Jane Wells of Yahoo Finance.
They first tested out the market in 2014 by putting Ziplock bags of Canadian air on sale on EBay. The first bag sold only for 99 cents, but the second bag sold for $168. It was the first time Lam and Paquette thought they were onto something.
They put their money and talents together and invested around $1 million to launch Vitality Air. They purchased a truck, a trailer, and even a “clean room” to facilitate the air bottling process. It takes four hours one way for the two to haul their equipment to Banff, and they usually spend some nights there because it takes a full 40 hours for the truck to fill up with air. Currently, they are not being charged for the air they collect.
They encountered a couple of regulatory issues that set them back a few hundred thousand, but by June of 2015, they were able to sell their first can. Since then, the business has continued to grow, and this year company sales are expected to hit $500,00. While Lam and Paquette’s canned air is slowly becoming into a fad, many people still have a hard time taking their concept seriously.
However, in highly populated countries like China and India, a whiff of clean, fresh air is almost hard to find. Vitality Air provides people in those countries access to better air, helping to improve their health and living conditions.