Femme Pétale Flower Farm

Creativity Nipped in the Bud – Adene’s Farm Flowers Just Copies Instead

As artificial intelligence explodes into our daily lives, the overwhelming fear is that it will bring about the death of human creativity.  I don’t consider myself a cynic, but I argue that creativity has been on the decline for a while now, and long before AI had an influence.

I start my story in the middle. It was 10 September 2022 and springtime for a flower farmer is exciting.  However, that particular day had something else in store for me.  I received a text from a customer containing an image of flower seed packets displayed at OZ Market which were identical to my own Femme Pétale seed packet designs.  

It is at this point that I need to backtrack to half a year earlier where I’d just spent two months with an amazing designer, Jess from Watercolour Heart Illustration, creating the perfect packaging for the Femme Pétale seed packets.  Every detail was considered, with gorgeous flower designs painstakingly hand-painted for each flower seed packet. Immensely proud of the work, I posted the designs on Instagram on the 3rd April 2022.

Now, we return to that arbitrary Saturday morning on 10 September where it felt like my world caved in – the day I learned a fellow farmer would simply take something from another.  Until September 2022, Adene’s Flowers’ seed products were marketed in the below very plain and ordinary packaging –

Fast forward to that dreaded text, and now Adene’s Flowers’ packaging looks like this –

In summary –

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Look familiar?  Well, you are not the only one to think that – my phone began pulsating, and continued for weeks, with messages from customers – some asking if we (Adene and Femme Pétale) were the same company and others outraged at the blatant plagiarism.  Comments began mounting up on Adene’s Flowers socials and were promptly deleted.

Adene’s Flowers’ packaging had moved to a square packet, with the same composition and positioning of the logo, all surrounded by the same artistic design of hand painted water colour flowers.  Now the more you stare at something, the more you start questioning yourself.  It is understandable to have flowers on a flower seed packet, isn’t it?  Moving from rectangular shaped to a square shaped packaging could just be a coincidence, perhaps?  Maybe hand painted flowers in water colours for flower seed packaging is not actually unique!

But the more I investigated, I learned that my packaging was very unique.  There were no other flower farmers out there with the same style and design.  Then came, what they refer to in the movies as the smoking gun…

It came to light that a month after Femme Pétale flower seed products were launched, Adene’s Flowers contacted her previous designer for a “secret project”, essentially involving the replicating of Femme Pétale’s packet designs for Adene’s Flowers’ new packaging. She subsequently declined the brief, but that did not stop Adene’s Flowers. 

Adene’s Flowers then posted on its Instagram profile that it wanted to “change our flower seed packet design with colourful designs” and that “we are looking for an artist who is keen to draw and colour/paint 35 different varieties of flowers”.  On the same day, Adene’s Flowers contacted Ms. Jess Meyer, the very artist that Femme Pétale commissioned to create original and unique painted flower artwork utilising watercolour paint for its Femme Pétale seed packet designs. Adene’s Flowers attempted to convince Ms Meyer to design an identical design, stating that “I saw your designs for femme petale – it’s absolutely incredible! I would love it if you can quote us on 35 different varieties with colourways – it will end up being 100 different designs”. Ms Meyer of course declined the brief on that basis it would compromise both her integrity and detract from the originality of Femme Pétale’s designs.

Left with no alternative, I sought out lawyers, who addressed my concerns to Adene’s Flowers.  A lengthy response from Adene’s Flowers’s lawyers was received, denying all wrongdoing but immediately tendering to amend its packaging as follows:

While I took some solace in the fact that the immediate offer to amend, was an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, the change was completely superficial and did not even end up being implemented.

We all know that that this has been done before (as the below examples remind us) and will be done again.

In the Checkers / PicknPay case, the courts found that PicknPay’s imitation range of products “could not have been conceptualized based purely on market trends, but appears to be a calculated imitation” and the fact that the Checker’s original range of products was specifically cited in the design brief when designing the packaging (remind you of anything?) “can only mean that [the Checker’s] packaging is perceived as enjoying an established existing reputation in the market and was used in designing the Pick n Pay get-up. As a consequence, [PicknPay’s] behaviour concerning the replication of [Checker’s] approach for products targeting the same target markets constitutes a misrepresentation that is likely to detrimentally affect [Checker’s] reputation and goodwill.”

So this is where we are in the world.  Where a competitor does not need to go through any of the sweat, blood and tears of designing its marketing material, and can simply wholesale copy someone else’s designs.  The problem with that reality is that at some point there will be no more designing and only copying left.  I suppose, that’s when the humans begin copying from AI!

My hope is that as creative and inspired brands such as myself, and the examples above, put our products out with integrity and originality, that those who simply slavishly copy and paste are held accountable, and those that find inspiration instead elevate their ideas even higher. 

10 thoughts on “Creativity Nipped in the Bud – Adene’s Farm Flowers Just Copies Instead”

  1. Well done 👏👏👌. It’s about time that the “bigger” companies are taken out for not having ANY integrity. Shame on you Adene’s Flowers.

  2. People who do business in such a dishonest manner as Adene Flowers should be boycotted …. The Lady responsible for doing this sounds like a spoilt, narcissistic being. But, karma is a reality and in the light of how sneaky she is, it will not be good karma!

  3. I know that femmepetaleflowers have been going for years, it’s been sweat, tears & hard work from scratch .. have watched them grow over the years, love their concept, products & even been to the flower farm, you can be proud what you have achieved by yourself !

  4. Well done for standing up for your company …sadly it’s a trend with bigger companies as well as a big trend with companies based in western cape

  5. So sorry to see this. I stopped supporting Adene’s flowers years ago when I learnt how she abuses and exploits her staff. There is a terrible story behind the beautiful flowers she sells.

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