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Andrew Lessman | Why We Are Different | ProCaps Laboratories | Employment

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We feel it's appropriate that here at the outset of a new century, we reaffirm -- and act on -- our commitment to a healthier humanity and a healing, healthier Earth.

ProCaps Laboratories, founded by Andrew Lessman, remains one of the few companies that actually manufacture the vitamins we distribute. Our manufacturing facility is unique not only for the 100% pure, additive-free supplements we produce, but also for the purity of the power used to create them. Our roof and adjacent parking structure house one of the largest private solar energy installations in the world. This natural source of energy is used to produce all ProCaps products making us the only supplement manufacturing facility in the world to do so. ProCaps is also one of only a few manufacturing facilities to acquire LEED Existing Building (EB) GOLD status. We have been awarded this Certification for our manufacturing facility based on our commitment to green energy production, environmentally responsible building upgrades, and outstanding work environments. Examples of our eco-friendly commitments include using 100% recycled plastic for our supplement bottles, installing ultra-efficient LED lighting throughout our entire facility, using only environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies, recycling a majority of our refuse, and establishing a smoke free campus. Our uncompromising quality, our commitment to the environment, and the abundance of rave reviews from our customers should all make you feel confident that your purchase will provide the greatest benefits, both for you and for our planet.

Still Owned By its Founder
ProCaps Laboratories was founded by Andrew Lessman in 1979, back in what some might consider "the early days" of vitamin supplements.

More than a quarter of a century later, it remains one of the few supplement companies that actually manufactures the vitamins they distribute -- and the only one in its class for uncompromising quality.

ProCaps Laboratories is still owned by the man who founded it, and through the years, his commitment to quality and service has never wavered. This commitment is evident in the way ProCaps Laboratories is structured. To assure the quality, customer service and ethical standards ProCaps Laboratories is known for, the company is not beholden to shareholders or investment bankers. There is also no Board of Directors to hinder Andrew Lessman's steadfast, single-minded dedication to your health and to the production of the most comprehensive nutritional supplements available.

The Early Days
Long before ProCaps Laboratories existed, Andrew Lessman had a vision -- to help educate the medical profession so that instead of merely treating disease, they would work to enhance health. In 1979, just as consumers were beginning to appreciate the crucial role vitamins play in the quality of life, Andrew -- an avid athlete, biochemist and law student specializing in food and drug law -- was asked to give a series of seminars for doctors and other health professionals. The focus of the seminars was the exciting biochemical research that was being published on the benefits of supplements. Although Andrew had not yet begun to make his own supplements, he quickly realized (as did those attending his seminars) that most of the products that were available were of low quality. Then, as now, the vast majority of supplements were also made without regard to the latest scientific research. As a result, Andrew used his background in biochemistry to create vitamins for his own needs as well as those of fellow athletes, friends and the health professionals he had met during the seminars.

The vitamins Andrew created in 1979 were as unique then as they are today. His supplements were perfectly balanced with exceptionally active components -- and they were the only 100% pure additive-free vitamins in the world. Andrew also achieved another goal -- to make vitamins so gentle to the digestive system they could be guaranteed to never cause stomach upset.

Over the next 10 years, interest in Andrew's supplements became so widespread that he closed his successful law practice. Committing himself exclusively to the production of his vitamins, he named his new company The Winning Combination. From 1979 until the early 1990s, The Winning Combination's primary clients were - as the name suggests - elite athletes, entertainment celebrities, and professionals in the fields of fitness and medicine.

The Word Spreads -- Directly
By the mid-1980s, Andrew Lessman and The Winning Combination (which later became known as YourVitamins, and more recently ProCaps Laboratories) were confronted with a formidable challenge: How to bring the product line to an increasingly widening and receptive market -- without diminishing the line's unparalleled quality. Andrew knew that quality could not be maintained if the products were permitted to languish on store shelves. He also knew that his supplements would lose their potency if they were allowed to sit in a huge mass-market retail warehouse. Andrew had to find a way to spread the word about his products while still retaining direct control over how they were handled and stored. It was the only way he could truly assure the quality and potency of his products.

One option was multilevel marketing. On the surface, it might have seemed like a natural solution to allow direct selling and control of the products. It wasn't. Andrew found that individual distributors had neither the expertise nor the training to adequately represent any product in which hard science plays so integral a part. Distributors also didn’t have the facilities to properly store the product. Moreover, Andrew knew that the aggressive profit motive of overzealous distributors often resulted in overpriced products and exaggerated or deceptive health claims - an ethic totally counter to every principle that Andrew Lessman esteemed. That left him with only one alternative to spread the word about his remarkable vitamins - Direct Response Marketing.

Quite simply, Direct Response Marketing eliminates the middle-man. Customers are able to respond directly to an advertisement created for one or more media, generally either print (direct mail, newspaper or magazine inserts) or electronic (television, radio, or more recently, the Internet). A fundamental component of direct marketing is contact information (usually a postal or email address, or an 800 telephone number), which allows the consumer to go straight to the manufacturer in order to make a purchase, without the intermediate step of going to a store. After the customer responds directly to the ad, the company's product is then shipped directly to the respondent. It was simple, straightforward, 100% efficient and absolutely reliable. Andrew could -- and still does -- maintain complete control over the quality, safety, potency and storage of his products, while the customer controls every other aspect of the transaction.

Andrew's earliest direct response advertisements were placed in leading magazines and newspapers, as well as on radio and television. These ads were designed to grab attention while remaining entirely educational in content. They strictly adhered to Andrew's premise that, "if you make the best products in the world, the strongest bridge between you and a new customer is education." Application of this premise resulted in advertisements with simple, direct headlines like "Stop Wasting Money on Vitamins," "Frightening Facts About Vitamins" and "Vitamins Can Be Hazardous to Your Health." The ads were information-rich, with no hype or exaggerated claims -- just straight science and straightforward facts, elements that can often be surprising to many consumers. To a great extent, they dealt with the issue of additives in supplements, misleading labeling and poor disintegration, as well as the harmful or inactive ingredients that most popular vitamins contain. Every person who responded to an advertisement also received a free copy of Andrew's book, Understanding Vitamins and Minerals , which provides an objective, easy-to-understand guide to buying better vitamin supplements. These ads were very well received by the public, and the company began to grow rapidly as more and more people who had been using ordinary retail supplements grew dissatisfied and sought a higher-quality alternative.

Direct to Television
During the late 1980's, a new phenomenon in direct marketing began to attract America's attention: Television Home Shopping. TV retailing was in its infancy when QVC approached Andrew Lessman to suggest that he be the first to offer nutritional supplements on television. Andrew was initially reluctant -- given the fact that QVC was essentially a high-end department store with its own TV channel -- and back then, no one had ever seen vitamins in a department store. Other reasons why Andrew hesitated included the aggressive tendency of TV selling and the natural bias of television toward visual products like jewelry and electronics. But ultimately, despite his reservations, Andrew elected to go on-air himself -- without relying on the borrowed interest of a celebrity, and without adapting his presentation for TV's visual or "entertainment" requirements. Resisting the conventional wisdom that called for audacious showmanship and exhortation, his appearances remained heavily informative and education-based. The audience response far exceeded anyone's best expectations, confirming once again that people will listen to an honest, respectful presentation without sales artifice. Andrew’s appearances on QVC demonstrated unequivocally that a non-deceptive, educational presentation, given in a respectful tone in a civilized environment -- and backed with exceptional customer service -- is what the customer prefers over the hype, false claims and compromised products commonly found in the mass market.

After enjoying almost six years of unparalleled success at QVC, Andrew moved to the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in November of 1996. The move to HSN coincided with the passage and implementation of the government's new Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and the company’s relocation to a new state-of-the-art 125,000-square-foot facility in the high desert of Henderson, Nevada. The new DSHEA vitamin law had consumers clamoring for a wide variety of products, most of which could never be made in the high humidity of the company’s former home in Santa Monica, California. The much larger facility in Nevada and the desert's extremely low humidity allowed Andrew to make perfectly pure products he had not previously thought possible -- dramatically diversifying his product line to meet a much wider range of customer needs. Like Andrew’s original formulations, these new products were created without any added manufacturing aids or additives, but now they could be stored in a temperature-controlled, low-humidity environment to ensure the greatest benefits and potency. The move from QVC to HSN and from California to Nevada also afforded Andrew the opportunity to change his company's name to something more representative of what the company had grown to become. So in 1997 Andrew decided to make a gradual change from The Winning Combination to a name that would better describe where customers could go to get the world's best vitamins -- YourVitamins.

Today, Andrew is still passionate about nurturing and growing the company he founded in 1979 -- and about providing the highest-quality, most effective supplements available. Based on cutting-edge nutritional science, new products continue to be formulated to enhance health, and new technology is being employed to deliver these nutrients more efficiently. To more accurately reflect Andrew’s dedication to improving health through the finest scientifically-supported supplements, Your Vitamins has now become ProCaps Laboratories.

Changing Times, Enduring Values
Even though things at ProCaps Laboratories are changing for the better, the most important things never change. That is why ProCaps Laboratories continues to bring customers 100% pure, additive-free supplements based on solid and reliable science. No hype. No spin. No deceptive marketing tactics. And we are always available to answer your questions. Unlike most direct marketers who outsource their call centers to other states -- or even other countries -- ProCaps Laboratories has an in-house call center staffed with well-trained, deeply informed professionals to answer all customer questions and process all customer requests.

Since Andrew Lessman created his first supplement, ProCaps Laboratories has led the industry in research, development and innovation. Over the years, Andrew’s formulas have evolved based on new advancements in science and on the changing needs of our customers. Yet this visionary’s guiding principles continue to be the cornerstone of ProCaps Laboratories. These core beliefs are as true today as they were when Andrew first began: To enhance health naturally by sustaining and ethically creating the safest, purest and most effective nutritional supplements on earth.