ViviDream is known today as one of the leading players in the dreaming industry. But this wasn’t always the case. I’ve met up with Jacob Mounter — ViviDream’s founder, to chat about all the events that led up to company’s creation, and get some fun trivia.
- First off, what is the origin of ViviDream? And what was your FIRST lucid dream like?
- Two years after that, I had just returned from a 6-month teaching gig in China.
- Wow, that’s an amazing story! I remember you mentioning the lab, but not the other stuff. So, was LucidEsc vegan-friendly from the start? And what was the inspiration behind making vegan products?
- What changed you?
- Oh I see now, it makes perfect sense. Out of curiosity, what is your bedtime routine?
- So how do you fall asleep nowadays?
- Just like me! We’re not really great examples, are we… so lastly, I wanted to ask you if we can expect some brand new products in the ViviDream store anytime soon?
- Awesome to hear that! Well, these were all the questions I’ve had for you today. Is there anything you want to add in the end?
First off, what is the origin of ViviDream? And what was your FIRST lucid dream like?
Buckle in, we’re going back a bit.
It’s hard to pinpoint the very beginning of the ViviDream “story”. You could argue it all started with my first spark of interest in dreaming, back at the age of 8 or 9, when I actually had my first lucid dream.
Basically, that dream was going badly, so I said “reverse”. Time suddenly turned back a few minutes and I managed to avoid the problem and make the dream’s outcome a positive one.
When I woke up from it, I made a point of making sure to say it again next time.
It was a bit like a spell.
Next time I had a nightmare, something clicked, I realised I was dreaming, and shouted “Reverse!"
Now, instead of time going backwards, I just put myself in a new dream scene. For example, I wanted to be in nature, boom — nature.
Later, when I hit my teens, I realised you can consume things — supplements — which altered your state, and your dreams as well.
So I started experimenting with teas, bananas with a pint of apple juice which gives a boost in vitamins, allegedly leading to more vivid dreams 😉
Just before I left school at about 17, I was experimenting with methods like WBTB to try and induce lucid dreams. Managed to have all kinds of crazy experiences, like levitating out of my sleeping body and spinning horizontally, faster and faster!
Then, I stumbled upon a website that sold a supplement of galantamine and choline for the use of dreaming. I found out, however, that you could only find this supplement on really dodgy-looking sites from the US.
Still, I took a chance and bought some. The label was pretty bad quality but luckily, it worked amazingly well.
Two years after that, I had just returned from a 6-month teaching gig in China.
While I was there, I spent my free time consuming self-development media and studying start-ups.
After coming back, I had some money left in my pocket, and I was ready to start some kind of a business, but I didn’t know which.
So, as I was figuring out what to start a business on, I got a job at an English school in my town. During this time I realised it would be awesome to own a business related to dreaming.
I remembered those supplements I bought a few years back, thinking that “This should totally be available in the UK, and I could probably make a better website and label, also, to have an infinite supply of dreaming gear at my disposal would be awesome… yes please.”
It was also a great form of revenge to my dad who shouted at me once when he asked me what I enjoy doing — I just dead straight said to him “Sleeping.” Needless to say, he wasn’t too pleased with that answer.
So then…I got to work.
Started doing bits of research here and there about how to start a supplement company, how to find suppliers etc. and ended up buying some bulk ingredients from China. I was recreating that US supplement (Galantamine & Choline) with a slight adjustment in dose modeled on the "Advanced Lucid Dreaming Supplements" book but I needed to do it on a budget and test the market; not pour all my money into it straight away.
So, instead of paying for manufacturing for 500+ bottles which would have been way too expensive and risky, I decided to make a lab out of my room and make the first test batch of 100 bottles.
Hired equipment for a month: weighing scales, masks, gloves, mini-spades to scoop up the powder and containers. In the span of a month, with a bit of help from my younger sister, I hand made 3000 capsules… 1 by 1.
I told a colleague at work about what I was building, so he spread a rumour that I was making legal highs to sell to the students and I got fired!
This event should’ve actually knocked me down, but instead it just made me more determined to get my business off the ground as fast as possible and be job-free (even though I was working harder than I ever had before in such a short space of time).
Living off my savings for rent and food, I spent the next few weeks designing the label, preparing the bottles, building the minimum viable website, designing the logo, and I bought packaging equipment.
My product was ready to go. I made my first few sales on eBay and with the help of those early-bird customers slowly grew and improved the business bit by bit to what you currently see.
Looking back at those lab days, I would never do that now, it takes far too long and does a number on your back!
Today, they’re made at a certified manufacturers in the UK, but honestly, that first batch, due to my perfectionist nature, every pill was at an absurdly high standard of quality.
But then again, if I didn’t do that then, ViviDream wouldn’t have been the company that it is now. So in a way, I’m happy that this is how it turned out.
Wow, that’s an amazing story! I remember you mentioning the lab, but not the other stuff. So, was LucidEsc vegan-friendly from the start? And what was the inspiration behind making vegan products?
No, it actually wasn’t vegan from the start.
In fact, LucidEsc wasn’t even the first product, the first product was called Vivitamine (VIVIdream + GalanTAMINE) ← so creative! (laugh)
At first my products were vegetarian, as I'd been a vegetarian for a few years. But I’ve since transitioned to only vegan; actually it’s only been for about 3–4 months now! Still, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What changed you?
Ultimately, it was seeing the suffering of animals which made me change.
You can know all the positives like using less resources, better for your health, better for the environment and so on, but realising there’s a victim behind the product and that, by buying it, you’re paying for more of that suffering… that was enough to make me never touch the stuff again.
I now understand why some vegans are so preachy. [Becoming vegan] does flip your world around in a hugely positive way.
I even thought about ways in which I could help these animals out.
Went to a few protests: one in my town where baby sheep were being exported for religious slaughter, and another one in London with around 5000 other vegans which happens every year.
I don’t think I could keep up my business knowing that I would be directly funding these industries so I’m making sure all products released from now on are 100% vegan.
Also, it’s really hard to find good vegan supplements in the market, most are vegetarian at best.
Oh I see now, it makes perfect sense. Out of curiosity, what is your bedtime routine?
These days, fortunately and unfortunately, the times I wake up/go to sleep aren’t a hindrance to me unless I end up sleeping through the day.
But I’ve had sleeping troubles since I was young.
For years I would put on Disney movies to get to sleep at night, a bit like background noise. Towards the end of school I naturally became bi-phasic; napping for an hour after school, staying up late and having a 5–6 hour night sleep.
And for the last 6 years I’ve had my sleeping patterns all over the place. The only exception is that I’m almost always awake during late afternoon.
But this lifestyle was never really much of a bother to me, because I can wake up without enough sleep and not show signs of irritability, and thankfully can get on with work at any hour of the day.
So how do you fall asleep nowadays?
My winding-down routine now is similar to when I was a child; I’ll put on something light or familiar, like a cartoon and I’m out pretty fast (turning my PC off once I’m ready to sleep).
Also, I am quite active throughout my waking hours, and will save my biggest meal for the last few hours I’m awake. The reason for this is because I find I’m much more energised on an empty stomach, when I eat a meal I lose most of my energy and get tired, so usually I’ll wait for a large feast at the end of my day.
It’s kind of funny, I should have a really clean-sounding routine with the best sleeping practices because of my position in the sleep/dreaming industry but the truth is I don’t!
I struggle like most people in the Western world, but at least it works for my current lifestyle.
To summarise: I sleep when I’m tired and wake up when I wake up.
Just like me! We’re not really great examples, are we… so lastly, I wanted to ask you if we can expect some brand new products in the ViviDream store anytime soon?
The short answer is yes, there’s always something in the works 😉 Currently I’m in the process of transitioning SuperMind and DeepAsleep to vegan formulae, but after that…we shall see!
Awesome to hear that! Well, these were all the questions I’ve had for you today. Is there anything you want to add in the end?
Just wanted to say that I really appreciate you doing this, I rarely take a moment to look back on where I’ve come from, and it’s nice to reflect how far ViviDream has come.