The Shahtoot (Mulberry) experiment

The Shahtoot (Mulberry) experiment


Ajay Singh

Ajay Singh

368 week ago — 4 min read

Yes you read it right! The Shahtoot experiment.

How can a fruit be part of a social experiment? It all depends on which way we are looking at it. I have a Shahtoot tree in my backyard. One day I was looking at this old tree full of juicy fat Shahtoot, falling all over the ground, with zero value to it. I thought, how come Alphonso mango sells at overpriced value and this fruit is associated with zero value.

I climbed the tree, collected as many as Shahtoot possible, washed them and took a really nice picture of juicy Shahtoot in a basket. I then posted this picture on a group (Gurgaon Foodie) with around 38,000 members.

And voila! Within minutes, I started getting responses from people enquiring about the fruit. Suddenly my post was on top post with 240 likes and 59 comments on how and where to get the produce. People started sharing how Shahtoot reminds them of their childhood, how the picture of the fruit evoked nostalgia. People from all walks of life liked this sweet little memory from their childhood.

I was amazed at the response. I mean I am the founder of and I have tried numerous approaches to cross-sell women’s wear in all countries with huge advertisement budgets. But never had I witnessed so much demand for a product with zero budget on advertisement and 100% results.

One lady called me and said, “Hello, I saw your post on the Group, can I please have some Shahtoot. My whole childhood, school mates and friends flashed in front of my eyes just seeing this fruit.” Later in the evening, I gave her a box full of Shahtoot. She was an Indo-French fashion designer, so I also made a new connection for my international fashion website. Calls kept pouring in and many stories later I gave 15-17 boxes of Shahtoot to people.

Suddenly the whole world wanted a fruit with zero value. Later a person on call said that even if I was charging for the same, they would not mind paying for it. Surprised again. Suddenly value itself added to the product.

So many marketing lessons in six hours. Here is what I learned from this experiment as an entrepreneur.

  • People don’t know what they are looking for until they see it first. iPhone was never needed until it came into existence.

  • Anything associated with culture, childhood memories or taste can be a trigger for a product’s success. We are all humans and we love to go down memory lane. Associate your product to a memory and see how  your sales graph will shoot up.

  • Demand and supply plays a crucial role. Shahtoot are available in villages, so are diamonds deep inside the earth. In fact, there are planets made of diamonds. It’s not actually a rare element. But it’s made to look rare, so demand will increase if supply is in control.

  • Focus on product, price will get self-attached as the economics of demand and supply will do the rest.

  • The best advertising is still word of mouth, no need to spend a single penny just let your produce or product do the marketing for itself.

Also, I made new connections from people in fashion, media, financial institutions & hospitality industry. All this at zero cost with the help of a fruit with “ZERO” value I thought previously.

Guess what, two days later a new batch of Shahtoot is up for grabs.


Now you tell me, how much should Shahtoot cost?


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