Julie Sygiel, the founder and CEO of underwear start-up Dear Kate, didn't expect the backlash over her latest ad campaign.
Sygiel's company bills itself as a maker of "performance underwear" for "high performing women." So when the company rolled out its latest underwear line called The Ada Collection—after pioneering computer programmer Ada Lovelace—it used real-life women techies as models.
"It's been surprising because we've tend to feature women in our ads who we admire because of who they are and what they do and not only what they look like," Sygiel said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "And when you think about it, we are an underwear company, so we have to show some women in their underwear."