From FHM Street Honey to highflying entrepreneur – Jody Riley is on an upward trajectory

Merseyside businesswoman relaunches her beauty booking and fashion retail business as PamperBook and says she still sets aside plenty of time each day to devote to her five-year-old son. Tony McDonough reports.

Jody Riley, founder of beauty booking and fashion retail app, PamperBook
Jody Riley, founder of beauty booking and fashion retail app, PamperBook


True entrepreneurs never stop thinking of the next angle – a mindset that is obvious in Jody Riley.

The Merseyside-based founder of health and beauty booking app and online business, PamperBook, sets aside time every day to spend with her five-year-old son, Kaiden. But the business cogs don’t stop turning.

“I never stop working in my head even when I am playing with him,” she said. “I have a thousand tabs open in my head at any one time.”

PamperBook is the new name for Just Bella, a Liverpool-based business Jody set up about 18 months ago. The venture allows people to quickly book hair, beauty, health, body and fitness treatments online and to date has signed up more than 300 businesses in Merseyside and across the North West.

Late last year Jody expanded the business to start offering fashion and beauty products.

Name change

Both divisions have proved a hit with customers and now they have been combined into a single app under the PamperBook brand.

Jody explained: “I did love the name Just Bella but it didn’t feel quite right for the new app. Many people thought we were a hair and beauty salon.

“I was playing around with names and I came up with Pamper Book which was more commercial-sounding and illustrated better what the business is about.”

Art of reinvention

Still just 28, Jody is also a typical entrepreneur in the way she is always looking to innovate and reinvent herself. In her early 20s she was pursuing what was set to be a successful modelling career. She made it into the top 10 of lads’ mag FHM’s ‘High Street Honeys’, a competition to find the “ultimate girl next door”.

However, after becoming pregnant with Kaiden, the modelling ambitions had to be put on hold and the young mum from Aintree turned her attention to the business world.

Merseyside entrepreneur Jody Riley in her modelling days
Merseyside entrepreneur Jody Riley in her modelling days


She ran a call centre employing 26 people in a claims firm after which she qualified as a beautician, running her own mobile operation.

It was while she was doing this the idea for Just Bella started to germinate in her mind.

“I was staying in the Lake District one time and I needed a blow dry and I went online to find someone and couldn’t,” said Jody.

Across the UK, she says there are 35,704 hair salons, 1,512 nail bars and technicians, 967 registered mobile beauty therapists, 6,019 fitness facilities, and 13,770 registered personal trainers – so the market potential is clear.

However, before she launched the business she became a distributor for health foods group Juice Plus, a role in which she was so successful that she rose to become its national marketing director, responsible for hundreds of distributors.

“Working for Juice Plus gave me the funds to launch Just Bella,” she added.

Team player

There are now seven people, plus Jody, in the business – four people in the web development team and and three in the social media and marketing team.

“I have been managing teams for a few years and I have previously managed much bigger teams than this so it is no problem for me,” said Jody, with typical bullishness. “Both teams do their jobs well. I speak to them on a daily basis. They understand me and I understand them.”

Earlier this year she also teamed up with beauty business professional, Cara Witter, to open BeYou, a clinic in Formby offering treatments such as non-invasive ultrasound liposuction and skin rejuvenation.

Time for Kaiden

Formby is also where Jody now lives with Kaiden – the number one priority in her life. She said: “Kaiden goes to school and when school is over and I pick him up and then it is just a normal evening for us both.

“Some mums say it is really hard juggling a business and being a parent but you just have to get on with it.

Jody Riley with her son Kaiden
Jody Riley with her son Kaiden


“I set aside the time for Kaiden. I don’t want him coming home from school and I’m just on the laptop all the time. I get done what I need to between 9am and 3pm and then that is our time.

“When he goes to bed at 8pm the laptop comes back out.”

Nationwide ambitions

PamperBook’s penetration in Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and Greater Manchester is growing all the time and now Jody is keen to take the brand nationwide.

She is also aware of that she needs to maintain a quality threshold both among the beauty and health treatments and the fashion retail sides, adding: “I will say no to a beauty business if I don’t think they have had enough experience offering the treatments.

“The fashion side has gone really well and we have had lots and lots of queries on it. However, we have had to reject quite a few because they don’t have professional photos.

“I can’t have images of girls just standing there taking pictures in their bedroom mirrors – it has to look right. We are only accepting high end stores with proper imagery. It is a professional app now and I want it to look professional.

“I want the app to go everywhere – all over the UK. If you look at the success of apps such as Just Eat, I want to follow in their footsteps.”

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