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Bremelo: Company taking sting out of negative word

“Bremelo” has always been a fighting word in the city of Bremerton. Don Feldman of Silverdale is trying to change that.

He and his wife, Britt, have started a company called www.bremelo.com that sells T-shirts, coffee mugs and assorted merchandise.

As of right now, the company is searching for an identity: there is an open call for Kitsap County residents to help design the logo for the site and merchandise. Feldman, who owns property in Bremerton, is asking for aspiring artists to submit an original artwork of what a Bremelo looks like.

All the entries should be submitted to www.bremelo.com, he said. All the approved entries will be posted on the Web site and the community will get to vote for the winner.

The most important requirement for the entries is that they be “clean, healthy, fun ideas to represent our side of the pond,” he said. He emphasizes that point because the word Bremelo doesn’t have the cleanest of connotations.

“The word came about in the 1940s, and it had two definitions: anyone from Bremerton and a negative impression of a woman from Bremerton. We’re trying to change that,” Feldman said. “We’re spoofing the word and we’ve gotten nothing but a positive response from it.”

While the point behind the Web site is to change the meaning of the word, he is also having fun with it.

“It’s just a hilarious word,” Feldman said. “Every time somebody talks about it, everyone starts cracking up.”

Bremelo gained notoriety when rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot wrote a song entitled “Bremelo” in 1988. The song paints a disturbing picture of a woman riding the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle.

“I’d never heard the song until one of my wife’s friends brought it to our house and played it for us,” he said. “I think of it as a caricature. It’s a pretty mean song. We are trying to take the sting out of the word.”

Now, other businesses have to be careful how they use Bremelo because Feldman holds the registered trademark on the word.

“Nobody can use it in the form that we’re using it,” he said.

Feldman’s merchandise made its grand debut at the Whaling Days festival in Silverdale last weekend.

It was a hit, he is happy to say.

“The biggest number of people who bought the T-Shirts were women, especially young women,” he said.

He has been working on the Web site since December, he said.

“I’m a non-computer type, so it took a little time to learn how to do it,” he said. “I’m on a learning curve here.”

The Web site is a sideline for the couple. Feldman is a marine engineer with the Washington state Department of Transportation’s marine division and his wife, Britt, is a civilian contractor with the U.S. Navy.

Feldman became familiar with the word Bremelo when he lived in Bremerton as a teenager, he said. After a stint in the Navy, he went to work for the DOT.

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